In 1936, an ambitious young Orson Welles conceived a radical version of Shakespeare's ghostly M-cbeth. Welles auditioned and hired an all-black cast and set the jinxed and bedeviled play in a fictional 18th-century nation, modeled on Haiti. Integral to the production was a troupe of Haitian voudon drummers and singers.
Welles and his producer John Houseman mounted the controversial production at the Lafayette Theater in NYC with full support of the WPA and the Federal Theater Project. The voudon production received critical acclaim despite its radical, re-contextualized interpretation of Scottish witchery.
One critic, however panned the vulnerable production mercilessly, revealing his racist bias. That night, M-cbeth's Haitian drummers remained in the darkened, post-show theater, singing, dancing, and chanting until dawn. Shortly thereafter, the critic was found dead in bed without a mark on him.
Many cultures consider coincidence as a random phenomenon. Other cultures perceive authentic, other-worldly connections between coexisting people, places, and events and often act upon these more subtle constructs.
From one perspective the Haitians and the critic had no causal connection. From another perspective, the midnight dance in the Lafayette theater and the critic's death were linked through aché, a mystical life force that permeates the Universe. Without aché, no life could exist.
With this feces-slinging Bonobo despoiling our spirits from a defiled White House, I'm driven to recall the powerful coincidence that vibrated between the critic and the Haitian musicians of Welles’ M-cbeth.
Maybe those who today possess tremendo aché today will commune with the voudon performers of Welles’ M-cbeth. Together, they could sing, dance, and drum out a response to Trump’s racist obscenities.
With the power of good spirit, such a powerful gathering might bring aché to this President, for he — not AIDS — now hosts the world’s most dangerous, deadly, and despicable disease.