Thanks to Cat Burglar for pointing out the new features on the Treasures from The Library of Congress website. It is indeed a treasure trove of Wellesania. The site currently has many rare items from several of Welles Federal Theater Project productions of 1936 and 1937 on display. You can access it here: Federal Theater Project
Orson Welles (1915-1985) was only twenty-one when he directed, designed costumes for, and appeared in the title role of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. The 1937 FTP production of Christopher Marlowe's rarely staged Elizabethan play was, artistically, one of the most notable productions in the history of the American theater. Welles's highly innovative use of costumes, lighting, and a series of trapdoors resulted in a production in which the sense of black magic and damnation was all-pervasive.
Welles complete prompt-book for Dr. Faustus can also be accessed on line, which includes some incredible details for the production, such as the lighting cues and grids designed by Feder, which look like something that might have been designed for todays elaborate rock shows.
Although the set design for Dr. Faustus was very simple, the production was given intense visual effect through powerfully dramatic lighting and splendid costume coloring. The cardinal's vivid costume with its luxurious folds was designed to stand out against an essentially black thrust stage that was punctuated from the sides and above with a complex arrangement of lights. Welles also designed the costume for Faustus's assistant Wagner.
Doctor Faustus is thought to be the only instance in which Welles designed costumes for the theater. It is also an early instance of racially integrated casting. Jack Carter, whose elegant and austere Mephistopheles contrasted mightily with the explosive Faustus of Welles, had appeared as Macbeth in the 1936 all-black production of Shakespeare's play, often known as the "Voodoo Macbeth."
Here is the program note that appeared in the original Dr. Faustus Playbill, regarding Welles costume as Dr. Faustus, and the procedures a master magician needed to perform while attempting to conjure up the dark forces from within the protection of the magic circle:
The proper attire or pontificalibus of a magician, is a priestly robe of black bombazine, reaching to the ground, with the two seals of the earth drawn correctly upon virgin parchment. Round his waist is tied a broad consecrated girdle, with the names Ya, Yo, Aie, Aaie,- Elibra, Elchim, Sadai, Pah Adonai, tuo robore, Cintus sum. Upon his shoes must be written Tetragrammaton, with crosses round about; and in his hand a Holy Bible, printed or written in pure Hebrew. Thus attired, and standing within the charmed circle, the magician repeats the awful form of exorcism; and presently, the infernal spirits make strange and frightful noises, howlings, tremblings, flashes, and most dreadful shrieks and yells, as the forerunner of their becoming visible. Their first appearance is generally in the form of fierce and terrible lions and tigers vomiting forth fire and roaring hideously about the circle; all which time the exorcist must not suffer any tremour of dismay; for, in that case, they will gain the ascendancy, and the consequences may touch his life. On the contrary, he must summon up a share of resolution, and continue repeating all the forms of constriction and confinement, until they are drawn nearer to the influence of the triangle, when their forms will change to appearances less ferocious and frightful, and become more submissive and tractable. When the forms of conjuration have in this manner been sufficiently repeated the spirits forsake their bestial shapes, and enter the human form, appearing like men of gentle countenance and behaviour. With great care also must the spirit be discharged after the ceremony is finished, and has answered all the demands made upon him. The magician must wait patiently till he has passed through all the terrible forms which announce his coming, and only when the last shriek has died away, and every trace of fire and brimstone has disappeared, may he leave the circle and depart home in safety.
The link to yet another LOC page is here: Voodoo Macbeth
This site gives an more complete overview of all the LOC material from Macbeth, including production stills, costume designs, script pages from the play and a long piece entitled The Play That Electrified Harlem written by Wendy Smith, that originally appeared in Civilization magazine.
And on yet another page you can see a beautifully designed red and black silkscreen poster designed by Anthony Velonis for Macbeth.
Also, there are many great images from Welles Shakespearian works on both stage and screen at this website:
Welles and Shakespeare