Vo Du Macbeth - Basin St. Station

A Parable About Power in Two Acts
Created & Directed By Lenwood Sloan

Basin St. Station
July 1-4, 2015
By Invitation Only


The Vo – Du Macbeth is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, based on the landmark 1936 WPA production created by Orson Welles and Virgil Thompson for the Harlem Lafayette Theater.

At the heart of my writing is a statement about the condition of man. And at the heart of my technique is the construction of characters that move back and forth from the vernacular to the transcendental.

The inspiration and foundation for the Vo Du Macbeth center on the development of a text and libretto that is elastic enough to support interdisciplinary collaboration and co-creation.

Across the decade since New Orleans first witnessed this work, over 200 actors have lent their voices and vision to the development of the script and libretto. The power, persuasion, and impact of oratory and choral speaking are groundwork for the play that I have created for the Basin Street Station cabaret performance.

The Vo-du Macbeth is a work about spirituality, identity, family, the constant struggle for power, the confusion of national identity, the thirst for leadership, passion and desire, and the perpetual presence of death. These elements combine with a site-specific installation, soundscape and imagery to inform the ritual drama. By setting the ritual during the winter solstice, and in the traditions and revels from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, through to the charivari masquerade of 12th Night, I am simultaneously employing elements of Greek theater, theater in the round, cabaret intimacy, street theater and performance art.

The two-act evening balances the core elements of the classic Shakespearean drama with historical references regarding the struggle for identity between the gen de colour libre of the Quadroon Ballroom and the soulful and resourceful denizens of the Congo Plain. In short, we shift a timeless tale to a new paradigm. The 2015 – 10th anniversary production convenes a tremendous cast, crew, and musical ensemble, that pays homage to the spirit of collaboration which was the signature of the WPA phenomena while utilizing theater as a contemporary tool to facilitate a civic dialogue on race, culture and identity with participating audiences.

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.


WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



was added to your favorites.



Share On Twitter Share On Facebook