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Faust in the Box

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March 28, 2012


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Faust in the Box

Faust in the boxWaterloo Centre for German Studies presents Faust in the Box by Bridge Markland.

The Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) has invited Berlin performance artist Bridge Markland to stage her one-woman-show Faust in the Box, based on Goethe’s famous play “Faust”.

Crossing boundaries of gender, performance, theatre, cabaret, collage, and puppetry, Markland gives the story of Faust – an intellectual who sells his soul to the devil for knowledge – a new and interesting spin. Using only a cardboard box for a set, Markland switches effortlessly between the characters of Margaret (the girl Faust seduces), Mephisto (the devil), and Faust himself, using hand puppets to perform the multiple roles.

The meaning of the word and name has been reinterpreted through the ages. Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success: the proverbial “deal with the devil”.

The Faust of early books—as well as the ballads, dramas, movies and puppet-plays which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge.

Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The story was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe, who gave it a classic treatment in his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. In Goethe’s reworking of the story 200 years later, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for “more than earthly meat and drink”.

Where: Theatre of the Arts in the Modern Languages Building, University of Waterloo

When: March 28, 2012

Time: 8:00pm

Cost: $10, $5 students/seniors

For more information please visit website.

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Happy is he who has the pure truth in him. He will regret no sacrifice that keeps it. – Faust

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Keith helps home buyers understand homes, schools and neighbourhoods in Kitchener Waterloo. He is an author, an award-winning realtor and an agent of change. On Twitter @kdmarshall. Online at

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