Dr and Mrs Faustus

written by

Mehmet Izbudak

directed by

Mehmet Izbudak

performed at

Wimbledon Studio Theatre

27 - 31 May 2003

Dr and Mrs Faustus Poster

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Programme Notes

from the Director

The name of Faustus is rooted deeply in European lore as the name of the man who sold his soul to the devil in return for forbidden knowledge, earthly power and riches. Over the centuries, the Faustian myth has been embellished and recounted in many forms. Its origin is centred around Dr. Johann Faust, who lived in Heidelberg and was employed as a calendar-maker. This historical Faustus was active between 1507 and 1545, leaving tangled tales of alchemy and sorcery, astrology and sooth-saying, necromancy and over-indulgence. These were put into an elaborate collection known in German as the 'Faustbuch' or 'Historia von D. Johan Faustus' in 1587. This was translated and somewhat altered into the English 'The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus'.

Marlowe's version of the story focuses on the psychological aspect of Faustus's predicament. This gives the work psychodramatic tension. Moreover, Marlowe's Faustus is one of the alienated characters he had written about - Marlowe himself was a man alienated from the norms of society - a playwright, accused of being an atheist, a spy and a homosexual. Marlowe's 'Faustus' isn't just a work about black magic, hocus-pocus, and trickery; it now had a social context.

The 19th century brought us Goethe's 'Faust', the masterpiece of German literature. This version differs from Marlowe's treatment, firstly because Goethe's Faust contracted his soul not for knowledge and power but rather for a moment of complete happiness and satisfaction. Secondly, at the end of the play, God saves Faust by bringing about his purification and salvation. Goethe's 'Faust' is a serious yet highly ironical interpretation of the varied potentialities of western society's cultural legacy. These differences in approach are explained by the fact that Goethe was a man of the Enlightenment, living during the Sturm Und Drang Romantic Movement in literature.

In the 20th century, Thomas Mann's 'Faustus' deviates from the original the most. Formally titled 'Dr. Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn as told by a friend', Mann's tragic hero is a 20th century composer. His contract with the devil is characterised by an elating but wasting disease which gives the composer 24 years of musical genius but eventually claims his life. Mann's 'Faustus' is an updated and contemporary retelling.

'Dr and Mrs Faustus' is a modest attempt to follow the tradition of using this legend as a vehicle for presenting contemporary epistemological problems. It deals, at one level, with the predicament of post-industrial society's fetishism with consumerism and credit, while at another level it takes a fresh look at the age-old problem of human free-will. At the beginning, the play is set in suburbia - the natural habitat of middle-of-the-road, middlebrow, middle-class consumerist values.

Mehmet Izbudak, May 2003

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in no particular order

Alfie ~ Dave O'Sullivan
Siddie ~ Annette Piper
Gilda ~ Ruth Brooks
Humphrey ~ Andrew Candish
Woman Doctor ~ Belinda Thomas
Harry Clamacraft ~ Rory Mernagh
Joe ~ James Grayston
Lily Clamacraft ~ Kate Mitchell
Carla ~ Cecile Dippnall
Lacey ~ Gavin Gibbons
Flo / Vy ~ Kate Rogers
Annie ~ Libby Preston
Lofty ~ Jethro Crabb
Ruby ~ Carol-Anne Hodgson
Mr Smith ~ Mike Norman-Smith

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in no particular order

Assistant Director ~ Elizabeth Hawes
Stage Manager ~ Cindy Graves
Assistant Stage Managers ~ Paul Flannery
Paolo Giordanella
Props ~ Georgina Gorham
Sound and Lighting ~ Simon Harris
Set Design and construction ~ Mike Tierney
Programme and Poster Design ~ Matthew Petty
Publicity ~ Jane Lewis
Front of House ~ Penny Stone
Jane Lewis
Debbie Fowler
Robert Clay
Elizabeth Hawes

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All photographs © 2003 Jayne & Paolo Giordanella

Photo - magot

In the Main Conference Room in Hades, Magot waits for her colleagues, and her master.

Photo - ariton

Ariton, Sub-Prince of the First Hierarchy No. 1, gives her thoughts

Photo - oriens

Oriens, Sub-Prince of the First Hierarchy No.4, gives her thoughts

Photo - asmodee

Asmodee, Sub-Prince of the First Hierarchy No. 2, gives her thoughts

Photo - paimon

Paimon, Sub-Prince of the First Hierarchy No.5, gives her thoughts

Photo - astarot

Astarot, Sub-Prince of the First Hierarchy No. 3, gives her thoughts

Photo - lucifer0

Lucifer puts forward his new idea - he needs a marketing campaign on Earth

Photo - drfaustus

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Dr. Adam Faustus, an unsuccessful university lecturer in Marketing and Media...

Photo - lucy

... lusts after Lucy the cleaner.

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While his wife, Eva, an equally unsuccessful soap actress...

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... lusts after the gardener, Damien

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But all is not what it seems - Damien is a minion of Hell here to make a pact with Faustus. He's about to explain the deal when...

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...Eva reappears and wants a cut in the deal - in fact, she wants a new body - and Lucy's will do nicely

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Lucy and Damien resist the idea - but if they want the Faustus's cooperation, they'll have to go along with it.

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Minions from hell discuss Lucy's and Damien's progress - they can't believe their choice of client

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With their new bodies Dr. and Mrs. Faustus, with infernal help, gain success, a luxury penthouse flat and soon become famous as their ideas to market Evil gain ground.

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With fame and fortune courting Faustus, TV newsman, Karl Taxman visits for an interview.

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The Prime Minister comes to Faustus for advice on how to become popular and influential.

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All Faustus's efforts end up increasing human happiness - Lucifer is not pleased and turns up to take control...

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... with his minions from Hell who put Faustus on trial.

Photo - god

God turns up - and after a while, he and Lucifer come to an agreement. The Faustuses, Lucy and Damien get their own bodies back and everyone lives happily ever after.

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