Faust. Part I //
»Faust« is the Olympus of poetic drama. It remains the most quoted and most frequented play in Germany today. It is the work of a lifetime, especially in view of how long it took Goethe to develop and write both parts of Faust’s saga. He began developing the play at age 21 and finally completed Part II at age 82 – shortly before his death. During most of his life, the figure of Faust accompanied the poet and became the prototype of a new world order heralded by the French Revolution.
»That I may know what the world / holds at its very core,« explains Dr. Faust, summing up his project. Failing to comprehend creation at its innermost core, incapable of proceeding further to the next world, clinging to a reality which is foreign to him, he greedily seizes the chance to fundamentally change his life – from none other than Mephisto, who is competing with God for Faust’s eternal soul. Mephisto claims he can satisfy Faust’s hunger for the »absolute in an inconstant world«. He wagers that every man is corruptible. But it’s actually Faust who initiates the wager with the devil. He bets his life on the »greatest moment«, for Faust is absolutely convinced Mephisto would never be able to meet the challenge.
And now the toil begins for Mephisto. The sorcerer/technocrat takes Faust on a journey through »wild life«, magically turning him into a young man again. But he makes the mistake of leading him to Gretchen. Upon seeing her, his restless client becomes entangled in a serious love affair which endangers the devil’s plan. For Faust is one who constantly strives higher, faster and further, and he will not settle for the small world – he presses on further, whatever the cost!
The first part of the tragedy introduces the audience to an insatiable ego who constantly clashes against limits – his own and those of society. At the same time, the reader/audience encounters a piece of literature which makes for vibrant theatre and sensually alludes to various theatrical forms – the mystery play following the Carnival scene. And when Mephisto interrogates Faust one last time on the »open field«, a breathless and brusque »Sturm-und-Drang« drama arises, in which the original genius argues with his antipode…
So what exactly is »Faust«? The German drama? World theatre? The tragedy of the exalted subject? A comedy, in which man and devil go head-to-head with God as their witness?
It is a tale comprised of various scenes about a »radical fool« (Michael Jaeger). Or in the words of Bertolt Brecht: »It’s basically a love story between an intellectual and a petty-bourgeois. The devil must have had his hand in it.«
Directed by Hasko Weber, opened his first season as General Theatre Director of the DNT.
Oliver Helf (Bühne)
Syzzy Syzzler (Kostüme)
Bahadir Hamdemir (Video)
Beate Seidel (Dramaturgie)