Theatrical superstitions are a great topic to dig around in. They’re colorful and many, and they’ve been seeping out into the public sphere from backstage since long before Shakespeare’s day. It’s been a favorite topic of researchers and artists alike for centuries.
Rebekah Lazaridis’s solo show, “Broken Legs: An Art Exhibit on Theater Superstition,” is the latest vivid addition to that body of study. The first New York show for the painter from St. Petersburg, Florida, “Broken Legs” was put together specifically for the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, a theater and art gallery in lower Manhattan. They contacted Lazaridis after seeing her book cover art for Velva Heraty’s The Dream Belongs to the Dreamer, but the art she made for “Broken Legs” is all unique to that show, inspired by the combined venue-types of the gallery.
In white paint and black ink on black velvet curtains and discarded theater flats, Lazaridis explored well-known superstitions like the taboo against saying “Macbeth” or whistling in a theater, saying “break a leg” instead of “good luck.” as well as more obscure ones, like always leaving a light on somewhere on an empty stage to let ghosts perform their own plays to an empty house (or an “empty” house) rather than sabotage a live performance.
Painting on a variety of canvases is one of Lazaridis’s hallmarks: with her sister and under the business name Eugenia Woods, she sells hand-painted bags and purses, and one of her previous collects of work consists almost entirely of paintings done inside reclaimed wooden drawers.
Lazaridis flew to New York City for her debut at the Sheen Center on October 23, and while she’s already at home in Tampa again, her show will run there through November 30th. She hopes it will find a new home after it closes there, as she’s been “unable” to stop adding pieces to the “Broken Legs” collection.
“Other paintings keep presenting themselves to me, and I want to create them,” she says.
The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture is at 18 Bleeker St., New York, NY. Rebekah Lazaridis’ work can also be found at rebekahlazaridis.com and eugeniawoods.com.