January 14, 2008

Shit to you too!

You know how we say "break a leg" to actors before opening night and other live shows? Well, not bothered with breaking legs and the like, the French wish you shit instead.

Je te dis MERDE!

Pardon? You say shit? What have I ever done to you for you to wish me kak for opening night?

But here is where this charming good luck wish comes from: in Moliere's day, people rode chariots to the theatre... pulled by horses. Thus lots of audience members meant lots of chariots outside, which meant lots of horses in front of the theatre and therefore lots of horse-poop. All this shit amounted to lots of money for the actors, so SHIT IS GOOD.

The first time anyone ever wished me shit was when I was working with a famous French actress my age. I was getting her fit for a role she was being directed in by John Malcovich and she never liked the idea that her personal trainer was also an actress. So when she once said:
Shit for your play on Friday
I just stared at her blankly and thought "I've always known you're a bit superior, but this really takes the cake. Talk about putting someone down without batting an eyelid!". She saw my look of utter disbelief and quickly explained why she had said that, without giving me the back story on the expression. I left, feeling very suspicious and confused - seriously, that shit does not sound good. But now I know better!

PS It is bad luck to thank the person who wished you shit. A simple "yes!" will do in reply.

UPDATE: The BF pointed out that I used a word in the French sense in my post...did you find it? Sorry - 'chariot' should read carriage or horse-drawn cart. Not chariot in the Roman sense. Ooopsie...

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