Faustus in Africa

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A play by William Kentridge, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones (with additional text by Lesego Rampolokeng) and the Handspring Puppet Company - a multimedia blend of video, music, acting and puppetry.

See Faust by Goethe.

The original text

The legend of Faust is based on the story of the sixteenth-century learned scholar who squandered his fortune and then sold his soul to the devil in exchange for additional time to search for the meaning of existence through travel and indulgences. After making his pact with the devil, Handspring’s Faustus goes on a safari. Indulging in elaborate feasts and buying sprees, Faustus attempts to consume all that Africa has to offer. Transposed to Africa his desires become those of the archetypal greedy colonialist – his victims the African people and their land. [1]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

World première on 22 June 1995 at the Weimar Arts Festival in Germany.

Premièred in South Africa at the Grahamstown Festival 1995, directed by William Kentridge, with Dawid Minnaar (Faustus), Antoinette Kellerman (Helen of Troy and Witch), Leslie Fong (Mephisto), Busi Zokufa (Gretchen an God), Louis Seboko (Johnston), Basil Jones (Hyena), Adrian Kohler (Hyena) - music by James Phillips. Design by William Kentridge and Adrian Kohler, lighting design Mannie Manim, costumes by Hazel Maree and Hiltrud von Seydlitz. The same production was staged at the Market Theatre in July 1995.

Won the 1996 Vita Award for Best Production of the Year of a new SA Play.



Faustus in Africa theatre programme, 1995.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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