Theatre Department set to present classic Renaissance tragedy

During a group scene, Faustus and the ensemble show an arrange of emotion. For part of the opening act a group scene required a varying degree of emotion from the group of actors.

The Department of Music and Theatre will present a classic play fitting for this time of the year, full of supernatural elements and morality.

“The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus,” an English Renaissance play by Christopher Marlowe, opens Oct. 24, just in time for Florence’s Renaissance Faire.

“It gives people the opportunity to get a taste of Renaissance Faire during the day and then come see our actual Renaissance play,” said David Ruebhausen, associate professor of Music and Theatre and director of Dr. Faustus.

The main character sells his soul to the devil for ultimate power and knowledge, living 24 years before he has to give up his body and soul and go to hell, he said.

The cast and crew are involved with several aspects of the stage, Ruebhausen said.

“It has a lot of opportunity for students to do a lot of different technical aspects besides just the acting which is tough with a play like this,” he said.

With a diverse cast of class and experience levels, rehearsals are going well for the show, Ruebhausen said.

“I think the cast is doing fantastic,” he said. “Their first night off script was the best I’d ever had on a first night off script. And considering it’s Elizabethan and verse, they are doing fantastic.”

The show is entered into the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, he said.

“We’re actually being entered as a participating entry which means that not only will they talk about the show, but the show itself will be considered for regional competition,” he said.

Alumnus Adam St. John plays the lead role of Dr. Faustus and is the lighting designer.

“I just wanted to be a part of this production and getting the lead was a lot more than I ever expected,” St. John said.

Although the play was written years ago, it is still relevant today, he said.

“It is a classic play,” he said. “Many things we watch today on television or movies that have a supernatural element to it usually can be linked back to Dr. Faustus.”

Senior Shiloh Shelton plays many roles while doubling as costume designer.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the costumes all come together and the tech, the puppets — every aspect of it,” Shelton said.

The whole experience is a learning process, she said.

“It’s a great gateway transition from high school rehearsal processes to this, and it’s a nice lead into the real world rehearsal process,” she said.

Senior Marcus Levy plays the role of Mephostophiles, the demon assigned to Dr. Faustus.

“I think people should come to see it because if nothing else, it’s really good entertainment,” he said.

Editor’s note: “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus” will be performed Oct. 24-25 and 30-31, and Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Afternoon performances are Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m.