Theater program presents “The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus”
STLCC-Meramec was host to the supernatural thriller “The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus” April 15-19 in the theater. The play performed was an adaptation of the 1616 play that was in turn based on the 1606 manuscript written by Christopher Marlowe.
The story is about a Dr. John Faustus who, in an attempt to learn magic, summons the devil Mephistophilis.
Mephistophilis convinces Faustus to sell his soul for 24 hours wherein Faustus is able to command Mephistophilis to do whatever he pleases and ask the devil any question.
STLCC-Meramec Alumni Jeremiah Williamson steps into the role of the titular character Dr. Faustus also played by actors such as Richard Burton and Al Pacino. Opposite him as a main antagonist starred Chrisnelle Young as the devil Mephistophilis. Other major characters in the play included Wagner, Faustus’ servant, and the prince of devils himself, Lucifer, played by Alex Tash and Casey Richards respectively.
Director Keith Oliver said the two-hour play had to be condensed from the original.
“In this one it’s 24 hours but in the original it’s 24 years,” he said.
In addition to that, Oliver said he had to cut out an entire character to shorten the original three-hour run time.
“Originally I was going to take some of the original poem which involved Gretchen which was his love interest but I completely cut that out,” Oliver said.
Some audience members had a close and personal view of the play with seating directly on the stage. The play is set in an asylum so when the patients were on stage, they included the audience in the performance. James Scariot, chorus member, said he picked out one audience member and stared at him whenever he was on stage.
The set included a host of audio and video effects designed by Darren Thompson, Amir Alshorafa and Tai Nalewajko.
There were various lighting effects and background audio noises but the main attraction was the video effects. A projector was hooked up above the stage and put various stage wide video clips including the entire stage falling away to reveal hell when Dr. Faustus summoned Mephistophilis.
The cast and crew experienced challenges before the play debuted with more than two inches of water that flooded the theater and house seating. As a result, electronics had to be rewired, Oliver said.
Oliver said he was pleased that majority of the roles were cast by current students.
The theater often has actors from the campus and the community in their plays and musicals but Oliver said he was glad students can learn from experienced actors. “We work as an ensemble to produce a backstory,” Oliver said.