Review: ‘Dr. Faustus’ impresses community and campus audience


By Kendall Melton, Reporter

Shenandoah’s “Shut Up! It’s Shakespeare” theatre troupe showed their movement and acting skills as they performed Christopher Marlowe’s play “Dr. Faustus” last weekend in the basement of the Health and Life Sciences building.

Students of Shenandoah and people from the Winchester area were at the first showing on Friday at 11 p.m., leaving only a few empty seats. The seats were on three of the four sides of the stage (a very large white canvas), so each audience member could see the show from a different angle.

Every actor was scattered throughout the basement, wearing black pants and white T-shirts, and smeared all over with paint. They were contorting their bodies and doing yoga poses.

The opening of the show started with the good angel (played by senior acting major Taylor Bloom) and evil angel (played by senior acting major Sidney Rubino) giving a synopsis of who Dr. Faustus (played by junior acting major Tyler Clarke) is. The black lights showed off their glow-in-the-dark body paint.

Faustus was in his chair, continuing to read books on philosophy, law, God, and necromancy. Actors came on to the stage while music was playing, and strobe lights pulsed in sync.


(Photo by Kendall Melton)

Throughout the show, ensemble actors sat on the edges of the stage, continuously moving around in different positions and staying invested in whatever was happening on stage.

In one scene, Faustus had to sign a contract with Lucifer (played by senior acting major Joanna Whicker) in blood that allowed Lucifer to take Faustus’ soul for 24 years, so Mephistophilis (Lucifer’s servant played by sophomore acting major Annanoa Kauffman) simulated cutting Faustus’ arm by using red paint.

A few scenes of the show were only music and movement. In one scene, the good angel and Faustus moved together and you could feel how much Faustus wanted to repent for selling his soul and how the good angel wanted to help him. It was absolutely beautiful.

In the final scene, Faustus’ 24 years were up, and Lucifer and Mephistophilis came to take Faustus to hell. Faustus felt terrible for everything he had done, so he tried to repent and call on God, but it was too late. Every actor did wonderfully in this scene because Faustus was screaming while dying, Lucifer was stopping Mephistophilis from helping Faustus, and every other actor held Faustus up as he died.

Overall, Dr. Faustus was an interesting and artistic show that showed the struggles of choosing between good and evil. It was like watching paintings come to life and it was beautiful to see. Every actor worked to get this show to be as amazing as it was, and I would love to see it over and over again.


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