Oddity of the Week: The WPA, Marionettes, and R.U.R.

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This week, we bring you scifi drama at its best.

The WPA, Marionettes, and R.U.R.

WPA Poster for RUR at the Federal Theatre.

See this spiffy poster? Isn't it deliciously modern and science-fiction? And doesn't it make you want to go to the Federal Theatre to see a marionette version of R.U.R.?

What's R.U.R., you ask? It's only the 1920 Czech play that introduced the word 'robot' into the English language. In fact, 'R.U.R.' stands for 'Rossum's Universal Robots'. As you might have guessed, the story doesn't end well once the robots revolt.

The Works Projects Administration (WPA) was a US initiative to support the arts during the Great Depression. As this marionette presentation and its poster show, it wasn't sloppy work. There were some top-notch artists involved.

The poster itself was designed by artist Charles Verschuuren. The entire WPA poster collection – more than 900 items – can be viewed at The Library of Congress site.

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Dmitri Gheorgheni

17.09.12 Front Page

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