PLNU professor revamps ‘Dr. Faustus’

PLNU will play home to the seven deadly sins this week in Salomon Theatre in Christopher Marlowe’s story of Dr. Faustus.

The play, “The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus,” was written in the 1500s by Marlowe and tells the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge.

Since “Faustus” was written, it has developed several different versions, mainly a version with comedic moments, and one without. Professor of Communication and Theatre Wally Williams is the director of the play. He took pieces of the two main versions and combined characters and scenes to create a new version, unique to this production.

“I spent all of last summer combining and editing the 1604, 1610 and 1616 versions, all of which have fairly marked differences,” said Williams in an email. “I also had to decide how 15 actors were going to play more than 50 characters. Helga, for instance, is a conflation of three different characters from the original scripts.”

This combination of characters and themes allows for Williams to explore the theatrical nature of the human condition.

“Wally [Williams] has always had a knack for darker shows and he likes to do them in a presentational style, kind of telling a story in a presentational way and not a realistic way,” senior Luciano Gallegos, a theatre and spanish double major, said. “I think Dr. Faustus offers the opportunity to tell a great story in this way.”

Russell Clements, a junior theatre major, plays the lead role of Dr. Faustus and Gallegos plays the part of the devil Mephistophilis.

“I’ve never reached that part of my being, so acting the part of a devil has been very interesting,” Gallegos said. “I decided to do Faustus because it would be an opportunity to do a play that is so different that anything else I have done here at PLNU since 2012.”

The show is one of the largest productions produced recently at PLNU with over 15 people working on it, not counting Williams and crew. A production of this scale doesn’t come without its issues.

“Working with a large cast is challenging because it’s hard to know everyone and gain a chemistry with them,” says senior liberal studies major Kayla Morales, who is playing multiple roles. “Another challenge is staying quiet with all these funny people backstage.”

Faustus is also unique here at PLNU because of its content.

“I think most shows done here are censored to a certain extent,” said Morales. “I think this one is definitely going to stand out from other shows because we’re not holding back at all.”

The play tackles issues such as religion, morality and the dangers of dealing with the devil and runs this week, Feb. 3 through Feb. 7.