Adaptation of Marlowe’s Faustus to open April 23

Public domain image (Source: Google Books).

By Annalisa Lewis

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH- Set to open on April 23, the birthday of Christopher Marlowe’s rival William Shakespeare, Performing Arts Professor Anthony Tassa is directing an adaptation of Marlowe’s play Faustus, an Elizabethan tragedy whose main character sells his soul for earthly glory.

“This is a cautionary tale,” Tassa said during a January interview, “as Faustus is a narcissist who wants to know everything and doesn’t trust God which eventually brings about his downfall.” The play has magic, supernatural elements, and a disturbed tragic hero making it a great horror story, he said.

Adapting the story and modernizing it was time-consuming but well worth the effort, said Tassa. To make it sound and feel more contemporary, he said he used a non-linear narrative centered on Faustus’ final night. He also changed much of the language to make it modern by using updated terms and syntax. However, he said he retained the supernatural characters’ language in Elizabethan English to help set them apart.