Selling One's Soul to
PROFESSORS ANTON JUAN, JESSE LANDER, AND MARK PILKINTON
April 8-9, 2007
Perhaps no story is more compelling than the legend of Faust, who
sold his eternal soul to the devil to gain vast temporal power and
knowledge. The story has been told repeatedly, from Christopher Marlowe’s
1590s dramatization to the 1968 film with Richard Burton and Elizabeth
Taylor (as Helen of Troy). Other versions include Goethe’s Faust (1806),
Berlioz’s and Gounod’s operas (1840s, 1859), and the
Broadway play Damn Yankees (1955). Films include Bedazzled (1967,
2000) and the most recent variant, Ghost Rider (2007), based
on the graphic novel.
This seminar focuses on Marlowe’s play, The Tragical History
of Doctor Faustus, first performed in the 1590s and believed
to be the earliest dramatization of the Faust legend. The play
survives in two versions, the 1604 (“A” text) and the
1616 (“B” text), and the seminar will examine textual
issues and the decisions and choices made by the director and artistic
staff in the production.
Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is an excellent play to
teach to high-school students for the many pertinent questions it
poses: What is the nature of damnation and salvation? Will Faustus
repent? Can Faustus repent? What role does free will play in our
lives? What is the relationship between supernatural temptation and
coercion? The seminar proposes to relate this great Elizabethan
play to contemporary issues relevant to our culture today.
The combined artistic and scholarly expertise of the three faculty
members leading this seminar will allow participants to explore dramatic
issues on the page as well as theatrical issues on the stage. The
first day’s seminar discussion will meet in the afternoon to
serve as preparation for the performance. After a dinner break, participants
will attend the opening-night performance (tickets are included)
in the Decio Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. They
will have the opportunity to congratulate the cast and crew backstage
in the green room afterwards. The next day’s discussions, with
a lunch break, will include the director of the production.
Anton Juan, Jesse Lander, and Mark Pilkinton
Tuesday, April 8: 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the evening performance at 7:30
Wednesday, April 9: 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Participants in this seminar are invited to join the “Faust
at Notre Dame” conference (April 17–19).