The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Art of the WPA #6


From April to June of 1936, the New Lafayette Theater in New York played host to the most fabled production in the short history of the WPA's Federal Theater Project: an adaptation of Macbeth featuring a so-called 'All-Negro Cast', and directed by 20 year old actor, world theater gadabout and professional child prodigy, Orson Welles. It was the beginning of a directorial career few dare dream of, and that only a masochist would want. From this, he would shortly, very shortly, go on to fame, infamy, fortune and dissipation (pretty much in that order); become one of the supreme figures in all Cinema (this is not hyperbole) and an inspiration to invariably luckless prodigies of all ages.

This Movietone newsreel excerpt gives a brief yet stirring glimpse of the legendary production; one that, save for the unartful long shots from the back of the house that make the performance look like a fire drill, one might call (in the parlance of CriticSpeak) downright Wellesian.

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