Whenever I hear that the LRHS Theatre Department is doing another production, I instantly know I want to see it. Every production is incredible from the props, set, costumes to the actors themselves and their amazing performance skills.
This specific production was put on by Mainstage, the advanced theatre class offered at Leesville, and the Tech Crew.
Ms. Tarson, the Mainstage teacher and director, adapted multiple versions of Doctor Faustus to create the play performed for audiences and students. Ms. Wrayno is the technical director and head of Tech Crew, who are responsible for every prop, costume, set piece, and face of makeup seen in the play.
This spring’s production of Doctor Faustus is based on the Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Merlowe. Doctor Faustus was originally the German story of the historical Johann Georg Faust who made a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
The Mainstage adaptation to the story from 1604 is different from the original, but still with the same story and horror offered in the original tale.
Doctor Faustus, played by Garrett Noga, is a doctor who becomes dissatisfied with his everyday life. Faustus finds a book on necromancy and witchcraft and begins to become enveloped with the idea of having unlimited knowledge and pleasure.
With the help of his assistant Wagner, played by Magdalen Crist, Faustus asks Valdes and Cornelius, played by Courtney Pring and Michael Collier, for guidance in the acts of witchcraft and magic which they are known for.
Using his new skills, Faustus summons the devil Mephistophilis, played by Glenna Durbin who in Leesville’s adaptation is a beautiful woman who falls in love with Faustus. Mephistophilis tells Faustus about the horrors of hell, but Faustus does not listen and tells Mephistophilis to return to Lucifer, portrayed by Loren Wait, and ask for 24 years of service from Mephistophilis in exchange for his soul.
Lucifer agrees and after signing a blood oath, Faustus begins to experiment with his newfound powers like being able to heal his insane patients. Overtime, Wagner begins to see a change in Faustus and urges him to turn back to God and ask for forgiveness. Faustus agrees, but Lucifer finds out about his disloyalty and shows Faustus his true powers.
After his 24 years on Earth, Mephistophilis comes to retrieve Faustus and take him to hell. Faustus begs for mercy from God but is taken away by the devils and spirits of hell. The play ends Faustus singing a song in shackles, in his final minutes of life.
When the play first started, I was a little creeped out and wondered why Mainstage had chosen to perform this play. But by the end of Act 2, I wanted to see the performance all over again.
The way in which the actors performed every single creepy and demonic detail was amazing and very intense. Additionally, there was one scene where parts of the set opened up to reveal outstretched hands or faces trying to take Faustus away, which really added to the eerie feeling of the play.
The technical elements of the play were very visually interesting, like the addition of strobe lights to add to the demonic feeling. As well, there was a part of the set which had a small flap opening which allowed characters to crawl in and out of stage and in my opinion that made the characters seem more inhumane.
Although I liked all of the characters, I can definitely say that my overall favorite character was Wagner. I liked that in this adaptation, Wagner was a love interest to Faustus, which made the story more interesting. My favorite scene was where Wagner and Faustus were being pulled away from each other while Faustus is being taken away to hell. During this scene, students executed various lifts and stunts, which were very impressive.
Faustus blames his disloyalty to the devil on Wagner, and Mephistophilis is more than happy to torture Wagner. You would never believe that the blood curdling scream let out by Crist was acting because it sounded completely real. Crist was amazing for the part, playing it perfectly.
Sophomore Brian Clarke, who will be in the upcoming production of Wedding Singer, loved that Mainstage went out of the box and chose to do a more dark and twisted play. “I’d have to say my favorite part was any of the dance scenes or when Alex Balla played the Seven Deadly Sins. Faustus really showed the diversity and outstanding shows that Mainstage is capable of.”
Once again, Mainstage blew every expectation out of the water and continues to outdo themselves, year after year.