I recently came across a seemingly plausible explanation for the origin of the theater term we’ve all heard, “Break a Leg”. This is what I found and wanted to share with you:
Shakespearean theory: In Britain, the most common idea about the origin of the expression comes from tradition. Historians know from the time of King James I and Shakespeare’s King’s Men that actors would, on occasion, receive tips on top of their salaries. Rather than receiving tips directly from the company or theatre, tipping was left to the audience. During the final bows or curtain call, audiences would throw money, usually coins, onto the stage depending on how well they enjoyed the performance. In some bad performances they would throw rotten vegetables, but in the good cases, money. Actors would then ‘take a knee,’ effectively breaking their leg line, on stage and pick up the money. As a result, when a person wishes someone to ‘break a leg’ it refers to wishing them success in their performance so in the end they would have to kneel down and collect a welcome tip. Theatre evolved and the tradition of tipping changed to one of throwing flowers on stage, as well as presenting flowers.