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Devilishly delightful show set for Cumming Playhouse
Classic Doctor Faustus on Halloween weekend
Faustus

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* “Doctor Faustus” runs Thursday-Nov. 1 at the Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St.

* Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m., while the Nov. 1 performance begins at 3 p.m.

* Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.playhousecumming.com or by calling (770) 781-9178.

CUMMING — It’s a theme that almost everyone can relate to: What would you be willing to give up for great wisdom, fortune, fame, love or other success in life?

That question will be thoroughly explored this Halloween weekend in the classic “Doctor Faustus” at the Cumming Playhouse.

Shows will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Nov. 1.

The play — published in early 1600s after the death of its author, British playwright Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of William Shakespeare — is being produced at the Cumming Playhouse through a collaboration with the University of North Georgia’s Department of English.

Many of the show’s cast and musicians are UNG students. Assistant Professor of English Brent K. Griffin, who also works as the artistic director of Resurgens Theatre Company, first created this adaptation of Marlowe’s classic in Florida in 2012. He also presented it in 2013 and ’14 at Atlanta’s Shakespeare Tavern.

After those performances, the show was called “one of the most dynamic” at the tavern by the Marlowe Society of America.

The story tells the tale of the doomed Faustus, who sells his soul to the devil by striking a deal with Lucifer’s messenger, the demon Mephastophilis.

Despite many warnings against the deal, Faustus’ greed for great knowledge and power are his undoing. That’s something Griffin, who also plays the title character in show, said makes this story a universal one.

“Of all the plays of the Shakespearian era, I think this one is probably the most familiar,” he said. “This play continues to resonate with audiences because that notion of selling your soul is one that we probably have all thought about in some way or another.”

According to Griffin, the production stays true to “original practices” of Marlowe’s day, offering a “stripped down, psychologically-driven version” of the play that focuses sharply on the relationship between Faustus and Mephastophilis (and by extension, Faustus’ own conscience).

The show also pays tribute to the practice during Marlowe and Shakespeare’s time of same-sex casts, he said.

However, unlike Marlowe and Shakespeare’s casts comprised entirely of men, this production (with the exception of Griffin as Faustus) features a cast of all women.

“So we’ve taken that practice from the Shakespearian days of the all-male cast and turned it on its head,” said Griffin, adding that he’s looking forward to presenting “Doctor Faustus” on Halloween weekend.

The timing was intentional.

“Faustus is the perfect fit for Halloween, and Cumming Playhouse audiences will enjoy the production,” he said.

“Of all the plays from that day, this one is probably the one whose theme and sentiment are perhaps even more relevant today than when the show was written.”