Tag Archives: dr faustus

You know nothing, Dr. Faustus

26 May

I can’t believe The Great Walk of London was already a week ago. I was not as sore as I thought I would be on Friday, though I did spend most of the day sedentary catching up on work. I’m lucky that my freelance assignments are due weekly, not daily, so I didn’t have to email my bosses and ask for a day off to walk. I did manage to get 10,000 steps in, because that’s another goal I have this year — walk at least 10,000 steps every single day. I haven’t missed a day yet in 2016, though I did come close the day I flew back to London. I faintly remember waking up and walking around my living room at 11:30pm. Not my proudest of moments.

dr faustus jon snow london.png

But speaking of steps, I got 23,000 today because I walked to Duke of York’s Theatre and back to see Jon Snow — er, Dr. Faustus. I went in with low expectations — the only reason I was even there was because the bad reviews meant I could score a £99 ticket for £29.50. I was front row centre about five rows back. A perfect seat for gazing upon Kit Harington — because let’s be honest, that’s why I (and probably 95% of the audience) was there. I didn’t know anything about Dr. Faustus so I quickly googled the plot line the night before. It was first performed in 1592 so of course it’s in Elizabethan English, though this particular adaptation included some modern scenes (featuring President Obama and referencing a President Trump!). The basic plot is that Dr. Faustus is bored with life so he sells his soul to the devil in return for the ability to perform absolutely anything he pleases with the power of black magic. The only catch is that it’s only for 24 years, after that he’ll be damned to hell. To quote the Jamie Lloyd Company, which put it on, “The story of this 400-year-old play is transported to a celebrity-obsessed society of greed and instant gratification, offering a fresh, new perspective that chimes with our times.”

Kit Harington was brilliant. It took a few minutes for me to see him as Dr. Faustus and not Jon Snow, but he was a believable tortured soul (even if at times his voice sounded eerily similar to Bane from The Dark Knight Rises) . The only problem with having such a big name star in a show is that everyone tries to sneak a photo of him. 5 minutes before showtime he came out on stage and just sat on the bed drooling and staring at the TV. The few times I’ve seen big stars in shows there’s usually a bit of a reaction from the audience the first moment they step on stage. But no one was prepared for it this time because the show hadn’t started. And because it hadn’t technically started, it was a grey area for taking photographs — was it or was it not allowed? I decided to respect the sanctity of live theatre and not snap a photo, but the girl next to me and seemingly everyone around me had their phones out trying to get a shot.

Then suddenly the house lights went down and the show officially began. And right off the bat there was full frontal nudity. Now I’m no prude when it comes to nudity in the theatre, but I couldn’t figure out why these particular chorus members needed to be completely naked. After a few scenes they returned with clothing on. Kit Harington was wearing sweats, though he did spend most of the second half of the show stripped down to blood-soaked skivvies. The few times my mind did start to wander during the show I wondered how uncomfortable that must be and how they wash the blood, dirt and satan diarrhea (yes, that was a thing) off the stage and all the costumes after the show. Does the brain splatter on the wall just easily wipe off before tonight’s evening performance?

As you may have guessed, it was a gruesome show. So much blood!
bloody kit harington
Photo credit

But it had its humorous moments too. It turns out Dr. Faustus’ first name is John. When this was revealed a soft chuckle erupted from the audience since we all know Kit as Jon Snow. During the interval the demon Mephistopheles came out and karaoked and riffed on the audience. All the songs she sang were about hell, obviously, and the biggest smile came over my face when I heard the opening bars to Bat Out of Hell. (I was the biggest Meat Loaf fan in high school.) She absolutely killed it (though at the end when he takes it up an octave she said “F— it, that’s too high!”).

Now the ultimate test of whether it was a good show: Would I have enjoyed it were it a no-name in the title role? I think the answer is yes. Though the material was heavy, I mostly understood what was going on, and the lighting, sound and special effects were amazing. But without Jon Snow, the show would be worth a £10 or £15 ticket, not my maximum £29.50. (Yes, I’ve seen 39 shows in London now and have never paid more than £30 for a ticket).

Advertisements

Eurovision and more in no particular order…

17 May

-I don’t think “wasted” is the right word, so I’ll just say I “spent” 4 hours of my life immersed in Eurovision viewing on Saturday. First I told myself I was just going to watch my favorites, then I was just going to watch all the acts and skip the voting, then I found myself halfway through the jury results and decided I’d turn it off after that since it seemed Australia was a sure thing. I did manage to turn it off and go to bed, only to find myself reading a live blog of the results on The Guardian, so I ran back into the living room and caught the end. Oh, the suspense! Australia won the jury vote, Russia won the popular vote, and yet somehow Ukraine won Eurovision 2016. Russia definitely had the best performance, brilliantly incorporating video and movement, but as someone wrote on the official Eurovision Facebook page, “It’s the Eurovision SONG Contest, not Video Contest.” Touche. I’m still not sure what we’re supposed to be judging them on — song catchiness, vocal talent, cool use of lights and pyrotechnics? All of the above? Based mostly on how good their songs are to run to, my favorites were Austria, Cyprus, Spain, Lithuania and Poland. Although I couldn’t stop thinking about how stupid Donny Montell from Lithuania’s hair looked and it kind of ruined it for me a bit.

lithuania eurovision hair.png

eurovision stupid hair.png

A random Youtube commenter said it best: “Well, apart from looking a Lithuanic Bieber I must admit that the song is good as hell.” To which another random dude replied, “A few years ago he looked like a proper lad on the stage. Been dressing like a teen ever since.” Now I’m gonna imagine that stupid haircut every time I jam to his song.

UK and France also had really good songs, considering they usually have rubbish entries. But enough about Eurovision, my American readers probably have no idea what I’m on about. They’re probably also upset I used the British expression “on about.”

-I ran 8.65 miles today! A new record by .05. Part of me wanted to go further, but my Band-aid on my ankle was starting to fall off and I didn’t want another incident like last week. It seems to be healing though, so hopefully that was just a freak thing and I just won’t wear those thin socks again.

-If the stars align, and it seems like they might, I’m thinking about attempting The Great Walk of London soon. I just checked and apparently I posted about it over a year ago. And yet it never happened last year because the stars never aligned (the stars mainly being my work schedule and the weather). London forecasts are never accurate though, so I might have to wait until the day of before I commit to it.

-I am going to see Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in Dr. Faustus next week! The reviews say it’s rubbish, but I still couldn’t resist. And because the reviews say it’s rubbish, I scored £99 primo tickets for £29.50!