Target Margin Theater

presents

THESE VERY SERIOUS JOKES

Adapted from Part One of FAUST by WOLFGANG GOETHE

Translated by DOUGLAS LANGWORTHY

 

HERE Arts Center, www.targetmargin.org, www.here.org

January 4 – 25, 2004

 

Directed by DAVID HERSKOVITS

Lighting LENORE DOXSEE

Sets CAROL BAILEY

Costumes KAYE VOYCE

Sound Consultant TIM SCHELLENBAUM

Production Stage Manager CHRISTINE GOUTMANN

Press SAM RUDY MEDIA RELATIONS

 

Cast

Will Badgett – Faust

Pun Bandhu – The Lord/Ensemble

Purva Bedi – Ensemble

David Greenspan – Mephistopheles

George Hannah – The Actor/Ensemble

E.C. Kelly – The Playwright/Ensemble

Wayne Scott – Wagner/Ensemble

Yuri Skujins – The Producer/Ensemble

In what may be the most ambitious plan laid by a New York theater company, the award-winning Target Margin has announced their plan to stage, over several seasons, the entirety of Goethe’s FAUST. Initially presented in installments, the parts will ultimately be staged in one, integrated production. The first of these installments, entitled THESE VERY SERIOUS JOKES, shows that the essence of a true literary classic is timelessness and inescapable adaptability.

As presented, this slice from Part One, following FAUST from the Dedication to Faust’s encounter with Gretchen simultaneously feels like a serial, a classic and an adaptation. THESE VERY SERIOUS JOKES holds close to the text, yet makes us aware when lines have been dropped. It holds the source material near and dear, but sets the action on an odd hodgepodge of a set that, though a surprising stylistic choice, works well enough as executed. We meet the epic Mephistopheles as the devil in disguise as a poodle and a professor, the not-so everyman Faust, bewitched pub patrons, a smattering of kooky characters in the Witch’s kitchen, and, too briefly, Purva Bedi as the beautiful Gretchen. The otherworldly characters get the best costumes and some of the best parts, particularly David Greenspan’s dapper devil, but even Will Badgett’s frumpy, bathrobed Faust makes us take notice.

If this installment can be faulted, it is perhaps for being so obviously a small part of the larger whole. By the end of THESE VERY SERIOUS JOKES, we know the next part of the tale is about to begin, and yet the action, for now, is over. I guess we will all have to be content to experience FAUST in small doses!

- Kessa De Santis -

Archives    Listings