THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director, Presents:
Johannes Dokchtor Faust
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (CAMT) re-imagines its perennially popular “Johannes Dokchtor Faust, a Petrifying Puppet Comedy,” translated and directed by Vit Horejs. The story of the learned Johannes Faust, who sold his soul to the devil for ultimate knowledge, is staged with age-old technical tricks of Czech puppetry, including fire and thunder, hellish gargoyles and underwater creatures. A classic of the Czech marionette repertoire, the play traditionally contains satirical pokes at contemporary authority figures, such as a king, a congressman, or a local mayor. The company’s adaptation was initially developed in 1990 and its topical references are updated to the current topsy-turvy political climate.
The script is the first definitive American translation of the classic Czech text by the author known today only as “A.B.” The main Mephistopheles puppet, about 26 inches high and over 100 years old, was fashioned in Kladno, Bohemia by Karel Krob, a mason, and shoemaker. Three Mephisto marionettes differ in size, to depict the devil as he shrinks and grows, gaining and losing power. Faust is a copy of a folk puppet originally crafted in a Czech-American company over 200 years ago. The balance of the 20-or-so puppets in the show come from the troupe’s repertory, notably century-old Czech puppets discovered in the 1980s in a hidden storeroom at the Jan Hus Church on East 74th Street in New York City’s old Czech neighborhood.