After three weeks of rehearsal, “Dr. Faustus” opened in Quirk Theatre on Friday. The show, a Christopher Marlowe tragedy, was directed by Lee Stille. The play features Matthew Webb as Dr. Faustus and Kiana Gandol as Mephistopheles.
“Dr. Faustus” follows the story of John Faustus, a brilliant scholar who wants to know more than what is humanly possible.
In return for infinite knowledge and magic, he sells his soul to Lucifer with the understanding that in 24 years he will be dragged to hell. He was gifted Mephistopheles, a demon, as his personal servant who will assist him for 24 years. Faustus struggles with his conscience over these years, as he tries to decide between good and evil.
Webb, a freshman at Eastern Michigan University, brought Faustus’ troubles to life with an energetic and engaging performance. Despite the difficulties of Elizabethan English, he and Gandol were easy to understand and entertaining to watch.
This was Webb’s first performance at Eastern; he will appear onstage again in November in “Tintypes.”
Original music by Howard Cass was incorporated into the production to help set the mood of the play.
Along with the phenomenal acting and [OJ1] , the story was brought to life by an impressive set design, which seemed to be what excited most people.
“I liked it; it was good,” junior Julianne Simon said. “I really liked the [set,] especially with the pull-out scenery. It was really cool.”
Stage manager Brittney Gillespie has been involved with the show since the first rehursal.
“We’re doing a lot of projections, and we have three trapdoors which we have demons coming out of with lights. It’s really fun,” Gillespie said.
Pieces of furniture were actually pulled out of the walls of the set, contributing to the minimalistic feel of the physical scenery. The set was designed by Jeromy Hopgood, and the projections by David Koltunchik.
“I’ve been involved with the technical process a bit, and from what I’ve seen, the show is very impressive,” said Tyler Chinn, a senior at EMU.
A look at the program reveals that most of the actors in the show played two or more characters. This was accomplished by masking and costume changes. Most of the demons in the show wore masks, and those without masks were transformed with makeup and wigs.
“I think it was a good play in general,” Radu said. “Plot-wise [it] was really nice, and the characters were believable. [It was] a good balance of comedy and drama.”
There will be performances this week on Oct. 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Quirk Theatre.