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Issue 4 - April 1972
Gulbenkian Studio Newcastle

Well, Goethe's 'Doctor Faustus', and Marlowe's and everyone else's Faustus were all virtually irrelevant at this 'production' of Faust, which I went to twice.

The cast used some speeches from Faustus to stimulate the 'audience' to discussion and argument, at times fairly violent views being expressed. One 'straight' asked for some Faust - he was treated to a view of writhing bodies showing lechery with joyous abandon. He was disgusted - he'd come for some Goethe or Marlowe not this rubbish. It was pointed out to him that nearly 200 years ago, Goethe wrote about pressing social problems which are still with us today. Was he so satisfied with society's progression that he couldn't bear to see and hear the traditional lines being used to attack contemporary problems?

Didn't he care about the impersonal system in which a woman could be refused for example National Assistance because she hadn't filled in form ABC, which she couldn't fill in anyway because she hadn't filled in form XYZ. Besides, didn't Mrs Smith know that she was in the wrong department for form XYZ and that she was wasting precious time? So, what? Fill in the forms and come back. Don't know your National Assistance number? Sorry, Madam, regulations have got to be obeyed. "Kids, I'll have to starve."

"I am bureaucracy - I am only doing my job".

So much for bureaucracy - what about transforming yourself - just use oils and creams and deodorants and cosmetics and hair dyes and take magic pills and potions and go to beauty salons - but when all is done you still are you - the outward veneer doesn't change your character. But that fact doesn't discourage exploitation - women should have 36-2436 figures, wear trendy clothes and make-up and look like the chicks in glossy (exploiting!) magazines. Why the hell should I look like that anyway? Oh, I see, so I can find a nice, big hairy muscly guy!! "You too can look like this", says Mr Muscle Man in the mags (as an adoring chick gazes at him). As one guy put it "What the hell do I want muscles for? I'm a lover not a fighter!"

Perhaps some of the audience went away thinking about the ultimate in degradation for women - what else but Miss World; or about Women's Lib, or perhaps some asked themselves if they were being exploited, or influenced by the mass media in the wrong way. Some must have wondered what is evil? What is the devil? - is he (He?) present in exploitation, greed, anger and jealousy or is he spiritual or, as was suggested, politicians in an evil government. Whatever people thought of Faust being dissected in such a way it was certainly a valuable experiment and it provided a much needed outlet for individual expression. It aroused excitement and emotions among the audience and gave everyone present the chance to express their views on anything. Drugs, life on the dole, politics, lechery, exploitation, Women's Lib, men's and Gay Lib, reincarnation and self-glorification, are only a few of the topics which were discussed on the two nights I was there.

Of course some people were shocked and a little put out by some of the opinions expressed - but for god's sake don't we need to shake people up and make them think about, and do something about, that oh so perfect system which they are part of.