Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
What started King James's witch-hunting craze? Historians note that it began in 1589, when James's betrothed, Anne of Denmark, sailed to Scotland for the wedding ceremony, the ship encountered a major storm and was forced to take refuge in Norway. James ended up traveling to Oslo, where the wedding took place. On his voyage back to Scotland with his new bride, James's ship encountered another crazy storm, which was blamed on witches. Later, six Danish women confessed to causing the storms that upset James's wedding.
In theater circles, Macbeth is considered to be an unlucky play. Saying the play's name aloud is considered bad luck —that's why it's often referred to as "the Scottish play." (source)
At about half the length of Hamlet, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's shortest plays. Some scholars believe that the scenes involving Hecate were added in by later theater writers to spruce up an otherwise dark play. There's nothing like a little witch song-and-dance to liven things up, right? (source)
In 1936, the Federal Theater Project sponsored a highly successful version of Macbeth at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem. Featuring an all-black cast and set in post-colonial Haiti, the production was known for spectacular direction and the imposing sounds of drums. It was the first stage production of a young man in his early twenties named Orson Welles. (source)
The trio of weird sisters represents a super old mythological convention: the three Fates as represented by the maiden, the mother, and the crone. Which one are you? (source)