Ghostlight Repertory Theatre, a student-run theatre organization, opened “The Tragic History of the Life & Death of Doctor Faustus” on Wednesday night.
This play, written by Christopher Marlowe in the late 1500s, follows Doctor Faustus, a man who sells his soul to the devil for 24 years of life with magic. As time runs out for him, his eternal damnation approaches, and he faces an impossible choice.
Although Meek auditorium’s seats were not full, the cast received a standing ovation from the audience during final bows.
Junior theatre arts student Gregor Patti, who also appeared in “Little Women” earlier this semester, played Doctor Faustus. Even though he broke his toe after kicking an actor block too hard while in rehearsal, he said he still believes that this show has allowed him to learn.
After studying in New York in the Powerhouse Theater Training Program, he applied what he learned to his portrayal of Doctor Faustus.
“I was able to come into the show with a better understanding of the language,” Patti said. “(I’ve learned) not treat (the role) so preciously. It’s just how to convey the thought after I’ve understood the meaning (and) getting the thought to the audience in a meaningful way that supports the character in the show.”
Through this, he said he felt that he was truly able to make the character his own.
“I think that’s the only way to act is to find your way,” Patti said. “Each actor has their way, and mine was a lot of journaling, a lot of text work, a lot of study and a lot of just supporting what I felt like was originally mine instead of deciding what a Broadway or Royal Shakespeare actor would do. It was just what I would do because I wanted to be proud of what I did.”
Freshman theatre arts major Austin English, who played Lucifer in the show, had a similar experience of a journey of learning. After they were both given more time to work on their characters, they developed their own take on two infamous roles.
“Lucifer himself is a large challenge, so it was a big growing period for me,” English said.
Most of the cast for this show were freshmen. The show was also directed by senior Morgan Odom.
“It’s nice to watch (freshmen) come into their own as actors in this department,” English said.
It takes more than just actors to put on this kind of production. Lights, crew and costume design are all very important aspects. The show has scenes that require movement of large set pieces, and it also makes use of lighting effects and a creative take on period costuming.
Catherine Long, the public relations director for Ghostlight productions, is in charge of taking promo pictures, making trailers for the shows, designing graphics and planning fundraisers.
Long, who is part of the ensemble for the show, said she found that she was able to bond with different types of people because the ensemble is so large.
“There’s a lot of ensemble (performance) within the show,” Long said. “It was a nice way to bond with some different types of people that are grouped together.”
The cast of “Doctor Faustus” has been rehearsing for over a month and a half. Patti and English said that they were both very excited when they learned they had been cast.
“I was very excited. I’ve never gotten to do a part like this,” English said. “And it’s very much something I’ve always wanted to do, chaotic and a big challenge to try to get in the head of someone of an entity rather than a person.”
Patti said he was excited to learn more about the show itself because of its period language.
“I was excited, very excited,” Patti said. “I wasn’t super familiar with the show, and Ghostlight decided we’re going to do it after Morgan, the director (who) submitted it to be performed. I thought it was going to be very haunting, but it’s funny.”
“The Tragic History of the Life & Death of Doctor Faustus” still has several more performances at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13-15 and 17 and at 2 p.m on Nov. 17 in Meek Auditorium.