Object title
Witch Doctor Built and performed by
Ralph Chessé Description
Because of the discrimination he experienced as a child in New Orleans, Ralph Chessé suppressed his Creole heritage and African American roots. But black subject matter was central to his art, and he made Eugene O’Neill’s 1920 expressionist Freudian drama The Emperor Jones one of his first marionette productions. Brutus Jones, an African American Pullman porter who becomes “emperor” of a West Indian island, races through the jungle to flee both his rebellious subjects and his repressed memories of U.S. racism. Finally, Jones is confronted by the Witch Doctor, who demands that Jones offer himself for sacrifice. Chessé remounted the play for the Federal Theatre Project in 1937. Living Objects theme
Historical Contexts

Production title
The Emperor Jones Years created and used
1928 Medium
Sugar pine, miscellaneous fabrics Type of puppet
Marionette Dimensions
Height: 19”
Width: 4”
Depth: 2”