Harlem. April 14, 1936.Crowds line the streets outside the Lafayette Theatre, eager to see the premiere performance of what has come to be known as the "Voodoo Macbeth"-- or "Shakespeare in blackface." Acclaimed actor and director Orson Welles boldly chose to recast the epic of the Scottish king in a Carribean mold, with a distinctly African flavor. What is interesting about this play is not only the way in which it was received, but the way it was recreated and remade throughout the country in a variety of guises. Ironically, it was not the typical fare of the FTP, which sought to encourage contemporary playwrights by offering a space to perform new works. A series of articles available at the National Archives will allow you to delve more deeply into this world.

Back | Forward