A Devil of a Play in Dr. Faustus
Gannon's Schuster Theatre to perform adaptation of Marlowe classic
PREMIERING THURSDAY, SEPT. 29
Suffering from a chronic case of existential fatigue and ennui? Is personal success dragging you down?
You might try summoning a demon — although this remedy is fabled to come with some nasty side effects. Such goes the legend of Johann Georg Faust (aka John Faustus), an alchemist, astrologer, and magician of the German Renaissance who would posthumously inspire numerous works of theater and literature. Most notable of these is Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, more commonly and concisely known as Doctor Faustus.
In this tragedy (interspersed with comic interludes), a bored Renaissance intellectual strikes a bargain with Lucifer — infinite knowledge and worldly pleasures for a limited time in exchange for his soul. Appointed to make all that magic happen is the infernal agent Mephistopheles. Deeply rooted in Christianity, the play examines themes of temptation, sin, and redemption, along with the oft-repeated trope of "making a deal with the devil" and the associated costs.
Prolific American playwright Don Nigro's 1978 adaptation puts a compelling twist on the tale — Mephistopheles is kind of a babe, and she's kind of just his type. Faustus is held spellbound by the ineffable beauty of the brooding young demoness, which makes these contract term limits literally hell to pay.
Gannon alumna Molly Cooke directs the Schuster Theatre production, starring Ben Cinnamond (Faustus), Elizabeth Kellogg (Mephistopheles), Anthony Nunez (Wagner), and Noémie Vandeborre (Helen of Troy). The show will only go on for two weekends, so act now or eternally hold your peace.
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Saturday, Oct. 8 (additional 2 p.m. matinee on 10/8) // Schuster Theatre, 620 Sassafras St. // $10 // gannon.edu