Vo-Du Macbeth Opera (2000-2004)



Collaboration: Lenwood Sloan, author, director; Donald MacKayle, choreographer; Chuck Davis, choreographer; John T. Scott, sculptorvisual artist; Martin Payton, sculptor/visual artist; Steve Prince, sculptor/visual artist; Alvin Baptiste, composer/arranger; Brandon McCune, arranger; Christian Epps, light designer; Bill Turley, sound designer; Reggie Ray, costume designer.


Hecate2Shakespeare’s tale of power lust, deception, and betrayal set in New Orleans, 1863, among the Gens de Coleur Libre, the Creoles.

Support: Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship.

Work on this project conducted at the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Arizona State University, and Colgate University.

My work on this project is cited in Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance, ed. Scott L. Newstok and Aryanna Thompson.

This project moves my 15 years of research in African Diaspora and First World symbolic language systems and ritual practice into new temporal terrain, as part of the performance, narrative, and environment.

TOTENTANZThe production design concepts and image creation are informed by the research and production work for the video pieces Wassa, Jembe, Dreamkeeper, and First World Order, and the digital paintings.

Modeling the set designs, performers’ blocking, and the flow of dancers and large costumes across the stage, as well as possible light sets, effects, and projections, enhanced visualization for all the creative team members. Modeling accelerated the exploration of ideas, identifying potential problems, and revising the production plan.


The set design, costume design, music (instrumental and voice), and choreography are deeply influenced by the knowledge system and ritual practice of Vo-Du. The concept, text, and songs  are based on and reference Vo-Du practice and African Caribbean lore.

GUIDES: Donald Byrd/The Group, chorographerdance theater, The Harlem Nutcracker, the light and set design create magical illusions, transforming place and time in the blink of an eye. Jean Cocteau, filmmaker, La Belle Et La Bete, set and light design suggest physical and temporal place through fragments and glimpses. Alberto Pozo, painter, the Orisha series, studies in symbolic code and ritual practice.

  1. Christian Epps
    April 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Your concepts and visual direction for this show are totally new and carried the weight of history and society at the same time.

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