University of Rochester

EVENT: Theatre Program Spotlights Famous Pact with the Devil

February 15, 2006

Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Gertrude Stein's avant-garde reworking of the German Faust legend from the late Middle Ages, opens on Thursday, March 2, at the University of Rochester's Todd Theatre on the University's River Campus. This unique and rarely performed production will be presented by the University's International Theatre Program and runs at 8 p.m. March 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 5.

In Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Stein re-envisions the myth about a man who sells his soul to the devil, using her highly idiosyncratic and unconventional stream-of-consciousness style of writing with its captivating, rhythmic language and poetic phrasing. Writing in 1938, Stein innovatively considers the dangerous implications of technological advancements on society. The production also compellingly investigates religion, feminism, and the notion of damnation, while cleverly inserting comical relief in the form of a talking dog and a chorus of nurses. Doctor Faustus Lights the Light is considered a modernist masterpiece of the dramatic canon.

The UR International Theatre Program production is directed by award-winning New York City director Noel Salzman, who teaches directing at New York University, Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. He studied digital media and social activism at NYU's Gallatin School for Individualized Study and recently received an award at the Rochester International Film Festival for his video adaptation of The Merchant of Venice.

The design team includes lighting designer Kevin Hardy, who has worked alongside renowned director Andre Gregory. Hardy has also worked on productions at the Lincoln Center, with the Philip Glass Ensemble, and for CNN. Set and costume designer is Anka Lupes, whose credits include the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and popular film and television productions. Lupus plans to incorporate a 360-degree rotating audience platform that allows the play to unfold around the spectators. The production includes an original score and sound design by Katie Down, who has created many sound scores for theatres, dance companies, festivals, and other events across Europe and the United States.

Tickets for Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights are $10 for the general public; $8 for senior citizens and University of Rochester faculty, alumni, and staff; and $6 for University of Rochester students. They can be reserved online at or by calling the box office at (585) 275-4088. Tickets can also be purchased at the door one hour before the performance.