“Chookas” is a term used in the theatre industry, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, to wish performers good luck before a performance. The origin of the word is uncertain, but there are a few theories.
One theory suggests that the word comes from the Italian word “ciuccio,” which means “dummy” or “pacifier.” In this context, “ciuccio” refers to the old theatrical tradition of having an understudy or standby actor ready to take over a role if the main performer was unable to perform. The standby actor would carry a dummy or pacifier with them as a symbol of their readiness to step in if needed. Over time, the word “ciuccio” may have morphed into “chookas” through Anglicization and colloquialization.
Another theory suggests that the word comes from the Cockney rhyming slang “chook and duck,” which rhymes with “good luck.” Cockney rhyming slang is a type of slang that originated in the East End of London in the mid-19th century and involves substituting a word with a phrase that rhymes with it.
Regardless of its origin, “chookas” has become a widely accepted term in the theatre industry, and is used to wish performers good luck before a show.
Yes, “chookas” is similar in meaning to the expression “break a leg” in the theatre industry. Both are used to wish performers good luck before a performance. “Break a leg” is a well-known theatrical tradition, particularly in the United States, while “chookas” is more commonly used in Australia and New Zealand. The origins of the two expressions are different, but they share the same purpose of wishing performers success on stage.