Many years ago (I had bangs then) I was cast in a small supporting role in a Shakespeare in the Park production. I was in the first scene as a servant to a Duke. The man they cast as the Duke was a really nice guy whom I've seen do good work in a lot of parts, but for some reason Shakespeare just tripped him out. He'd start one of his speeches and suddenly slide into glossolalia: "That strain again! It had a dying fall. Hum, lumlum lum lum, fffm mum gum mmm mmm, sum pum sumthum bum gum gum bum bum." More or less iambic pentameter mumbling whenever he drew a blank on the lines, which was frequently.
He struggled with it, wanting to get it right but never quite nailing it. He'd fix one passage and forget another. I felt a mixture of sympathy and frustration... in later years I've done a bit of study on techniques for learning and speaking Shakespeare, but at the time we were both amateurs and I had no wisdom to pass on. Still, at least I knew my few lines and was able to spit them out whenever the discombobulated Duke came to the end of his Shakespearean scat-singing.
So opening night arrived, and whaddaya know? The Duke got his speeches out letter perfect. I was quite proud of him. And he turned to me for my first cue: "How now! What news from her?"
And I said: "So please my lord, um mum gum mum mum mum bum."
Somehow he had transferred the curse to me. When I hear the phrase "The magic of live theatre," this witchery is what comes to my mind.