In May and July, 1916, Percy MacKaye’s civic drama Caliban was staged in Lewisohn Stadium in New York City and Harvard Stadium in Boston. Produced by a company of 5,000 citizens led by professional actors and enjoyed by audiences of 10,000 each night, this festive pageant brought these cities together in a creative celebration of their common humanity.
“These communal masques touch the bottom of that instinct of the Artist, latent in us all, and have offered thousands a chance of participating in the joy of actually creating beauty. Such an achievement is surely a foretaste of the eventual realization of the democratic ideal, when art will be made not only for the people, but also by the people, and all the people will cooperate to make the common life more beautiful, until the communal life itself shall become a living work of art.” – New York American, May 28, 1916
This beautiful little book presents a moving sketch of a poet awaiting rediscovery. Drawing on Arvia MacKaye’s longer biography, Henry Barnes gives a lively introduction to Percy MacKaye’s dramatic and inspiring life. A real gem hidden in the appendix is an astonishing account of an exchange between Percy’s grandfather and President Lincoln!