Faust the character
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also one dissatisfied with his life, who therefore makes a deal with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust)
Faust on stage
Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The two most famous straight stage versions are Christopher Marlowe's The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus(or simply Doctor Faustus) and Goethe's Faust. There are also a number of operas, ballets and films on the theme.
In Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reworking of the story 200 years after Marlowe, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for "more than earthly meat and drink". (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust).
Goethe's Faust in South Africa
Though seldom performed in its entirety, parts of Goethe's Faust have often been done in South Africa.
The first recorded South African performance in German is by **, The first English performance in South Africa was by **.
It was translated into Afrikaans by ??? and performed by ** in 19**. A production of Parts One and Two, of an Afrikaans version by W.J. Erlank, was done by the Drama Department of Stellenbosch University for the opening of the H.B. Thom Theatre in Stellenbosch in 1966. It was directed by Fred Engelen, assisted by Rina la Grange, set design by Keith Anderson, costume design by Elaine Aucamp, choreography by Libby van Blerk, lighting and sound design by Fred Engelen, songs by Jan Bouws, organ music and improvisations by Boudewijn Scholten, Production management by Emile Aucamp, Stage Manangement by Pieter de Swart. The cast consisted of professionals, departmental staff and students and included Siegfried Mynhardt as Mephistopheles, Pieter Bredenkamp as Faust, Fred Stephens as Wagner, Tine Balder as Margaretha and Rina Botha as Martha. others who would later become prominent in the theatre included Pieter Joubert, Gretchen Holzapfel, Herman Pretorius, Johan Esterhuizen, Mees Xteen, Charles Fryer, John Cartwright, Rita Sierts-Ehlers, Woutrine Theron, Rahila Steyn, Annalize van der Ryst, W. Laurie.
A notable South African reworking of the myth is Faustus in Africa by William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Company (1995). The script combines section of Part One and fragments of Part Two from ** Bulgakov’s The Master and Magrita and new material by the South African poet Iesega Rampotokeng, so that the idealism of Goethe’s Faust is tested against the more earthy materialism of South Africa. It was first performed at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown 1995 by Handspring Puppet Company, directed by William Kentridge and using an integration of film animation, actors and puppets. It then toured to Germany and other parts of the world.
Programme: Faust, H.B. Thom Theatre, 7 October, 1966.
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