Saturday, August 11, 2018

FAUST (go down with all the re$t) • Equally Represented Arts

ERA is at it again, kicking off FAUSTival -- an artistic collaboration among Equally Represented Arts, The Midnight Company, Theatre Nuevo, SATE, and the Post-Romantics. Each company will present an adaptation of the Faust myth over five months, and ERA’s ensemble-created rock-opera plays out at Foam, a coffeehouse/bar/music venue along Cherokee Street. With music composed by Kid Scientist, ERA takes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, includes text from Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, and adds in some tv game shows to skewer capitalism and ask, “How much is a soul worth?”

Joe Taylor is Dr. Faust, dissatisfied and longing to fill an empty space in his life. While listening to his assistant Wagner (Gabe Taylor) talk about timeshare options, Mephistopheles (Will Bonfiglio) stops by.
Erica Withrow (Dark Pearl the Magnificent),
Will Bonfiglio (Mephistopheles),
Miranda Jagels Félix (Dineras) and Joe Taylor (Faust).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
He offers Faust wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams, for just a drop of blood. And a signed contract, of course. His newfound magnetism ensnares his neighbor, Margaret (Alicen Moser), and she is soon as done in by evil deeds as she is by her payday loan debt. Things don’t really work out well for either of them, but Mephisto does engage them in a few game shows, including “The Pit,” that assigns fiscal values to their fates. These game shows include sponsor breaks from God (Grace Langford), executive officer of that big bank in the sky, peddling home loans and money markets.

Alicen Moser (Margaret).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
With broadly comic, vocally solid performances, and some really cool, provocative songs, this Faust feels like a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affair, where you never know what’s coming next. A little bingo? Sure! A Franz Schubert aria? Why not? ERA’s fondness for including paperwork to accompany its productions is evident here, as audience members sign a contract agreeing to sell their souls upon entering Foam. No doubt someone had a good time coming up with all the minutiae contained in the one page contract, but it's a bit wordy, where something a tad more brief would still stand in as a clever companion to the show.

Quibbles aside, ERA always brings something different to the table, and with the addition of the company’s hallmark cacophony of dialogue and inventive choreography, it’s a fun evening with some interesting ideas running underneath.

Grace Langford (God).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
FAUST (go down with all the re$t)

Written by ERA, adapted from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
through August 18 | tickets: $10
Performances Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30pm

Rehearsal Stage Manager & Technical Director: Jimmy Bernatowicz
Stage Manager: Melissa Blair
Mephistopheles & Producer: Will Bonfiglio
Co-Director & producer: Lucy Cashion
Graphic Designer: Katrin Hackenberg 
Dineras & Assistant Stage Manager: Miranda Jagels Félix
Cast of FAUST (go down with all the re$t).
Photo credit: Jason Hackett
Costume Designer: Meredith LaBounty 
God & Margaret’s Mother: Grace Langford
Lighting & Video Designer: Ben Lewis
Keyboard & Accordion: Audrey Morris
Margaret: Alicen Moser
Percussion: Dustin Sholtes
Bass & Clarinet: Jacob Stern
Wagner & Co-Director: Gabe Taylor
Faust, Composer & Music Director: Joe Taylor
Dark Pearl the Magnificent & Intern: Erica Withrow

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