“Break a leg!” Or, Say what you mean please!

imageI’ve just finished 4 extremely fun performances of “Show Stoppers” with the amateur musical theatre company I’m in. I sang harmonies and kind-of danced in a group of 30, I’ve been doing shows twice a year with them for a number of years now, and although I remain socially very much on the fringes of the group, and rarely sell many tickets to the shows, for a while when I’m on stage, in makeup and silly frocks, I temporarily forget myself and fling myself into the spirit of it.
On Friday I got a tweet saying “break a leg!” from someone who doesn’t know I’m an Aspie. Like a typical Aspie, I can sometimes be too literal. I know  it’s theatre-speak for “good luck” but why? No one really seems to know, other than that to say the words “good luck” in the theatre is actually bad luck. Apparently.
My mum often reminds me of this story from my nursery school. My teacher gave me instructions to “paint Jeffrey” she meant of course to paint a picture of Jeffrey, a boy in the class, but I followed the instructions to the letter and poor Jeffrey was horrified when I went up and began to daub paint on his actual face! Fortunately since then I’ve learnt a few lessons and my literal mind hasn’t got me into too many other major blunders!
Back to the show – I wore a floor-length dress and high heels, and had to run up and down stairs between the stage and the dressing room without my specs on (I am extremely short sighted.), in a confined space with 30 others also rushing about in constricting costumes. On this occasion, thankfully, no actual legs or anything else were broken – but it’s always a distinct possibility. So next time you want to wish me luck, or anything else – Just say what you mean, OK?


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