Fausted

Dr Sara Chris (Sam Wheatley) is a frustrated eco-activist who wants to help save the world; after an ill-advised deal with the Devil she achieves the power to get what she wants, but as with most things in life it is never quite that simple. You do not have to be overly familiar with the tale of Dr Faustus to follow Fitchburg State University’s adaptation, as it provides a very modern twist on this classic story.

Fausted is both an interesting and stimulating play that is definitely worth a watch.

The large cast work well together as an ensemble, standout performances coming from Mike Daniel and Kevin Boudreau with their notable energy and diverse physicality across a multitude of roles. Everyone is involved in the physicalisation of props and set pieces, with accompanying sound effects, that are a source of light entertainment throughout the show. Sarah Morin is exceptional as Mephistopheles - confident and genial with a hint of impatience, she is a key role in holding this play together. Particular praise must also go to Sam Wheatley and Jen Shubitowski, who have rapidly re-learnt parts as exceptional circumstances have led to a cast reshuffle. Playing the lead role whilst still learning the lines is no mean feat, but Wheatley pulls it off so convincingly she could have been rehearsing for weeks.

There are several scenes where the potential for theatrical spectacle is overlooked: the introduction of the Seven Deadly Sins lacks the bold characterisation that such infamous and exceptional characters lend themselves to, as does the appearance of Satan himself. The plot development also becomes convoluted at times, as Sara is forced to make more and more compromises to achieve her goal, to the point where it is easy to forget the overall focus of the narrative. Towards the end, dialogue begins to feel superfluous and repetitive, particularly concerning the conflict between fossil fuels and renewable energy sources that forms the crux of Sara’s struggle. This is validated, however, by the climactic moment of Sara’s confrontation with her deeds, where the mistakes of every scene return to haunt our protagonist. I really enjoy the twist that this production puts on Faustus’ traditional failings - rather than committing selfish acts and reaping the consequences, Sara strives throughout to do good, which leaves her inevitable fate as a powerful commentary on the futility of selfless activism in an inevitably selfish and capitalist society.

Whilst this is not an action-packed production, Fausted is both an interesting and stimulating play that is definitely worth a watch.

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Performances

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The Blurb

After being endlessly thwarted in her efforts to end global warming, the environmentalist Dr Chris resorts to summoning the devil, and makes the Faustian deal to trade her soul to help save mankind. Follow her, Mephisto and a cast of 21 actors questing to save us from ourselves. Meeting international leaders, pleading at the United Nations, and manipulating corporate leaders builds to a final confrontation with the ultimate devil, greed. Coaxed by the music of Berlioz and Gounod, Fausted is provocative, moving and hilarious.

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