The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus 

In a Shadow Box

 

adapted by K. Brian Neel

© 2010 all rights reserved

 

 

4 ACTORS PLAYING

Faustus 

Mephistopholis 

Good Angel 

Evil Angel 

Lucifer 

Rafe

Robin

  7 Deadly Sins 

Horse-Courser 

Emperor 

Pope 

Countess 

Scholar 

 

 

BOX 1:  Intellect 

BOX 2:  Good Angel, Evil Angel

BOX 3:  Mephistopholis & The Deed

BOX 4:  Heaven and Hell

BOX 5:  Comedy

BOX 6:  7 Deadly Sins

BOX 7:  Clock 

 

 

 

 

BEGIN:  Faustus turns on the light.  

 

BOX 1:  Intellect 

 

FAUSTUS:  (cocky, prideful, perhaps bored.) Philosophy is odious and obscure; Both law and physic are for petty wits: Divinity is basest of the three, unpleasant, harsh, contemptible and vile. 

 

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. Then, we must sin, and so consequently die: Ay, we must die an everlasting death. What call you this, Che sera, sera, What will be, shall be? 

 

Divinity, adieu! Tis magic, magic that hath ravish'd me. 

 

 

BOX 7:  Clock 

 

Faustus changes the box, changes emotion suddenly.

 

FAUSTUS:  Gentlemen, farewell: if I live till morning, I'll visit you; if not, Faustus is gone to hell. 

 

 

BOX 2:  Good Angel, Evil Angel

 

GOOD ANGEL:  Sweet Faustus, think of heaven and heavenly things. 

 

EVIL ANGEL:  No, Faustus; think of honour and of wealth.

 

GOOD ANGEL:  Contrition, prayer, repentance!

 

EVIL ANGEL:  Fruits of lunacy that make men foolish. 

 

GOOD ANGEL:  Faustus, lay that damned book aside, lest it tempt thy soul, and heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head! 

 

EVIL ANGEL:  Go forward, Faustus, be thou on earth as lord and commander of these elements. 

 

 

BOX 3:  Mephistopholis & The Deed

 

FAUSTUS: Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please, Resolve me of all ambiguities, Perform what desperate enterprise I will? 

 

Sint mihi dii Acherontis propitii! Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete! Orientis inferni ardentis, ut appareat surgat Mephistophilis. 

 

Enter Mephistopholis.

 

MEPHIST:  What wouldst thou have me do? 

 

FAUSTUS:  I charge thee to do whatever Faustus shall command, Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere, Or the ocean to overwhelm the world. 

 

MEPHIST. You will buy my service with your soul. Thou must bequeath it solemnly, And write a deed of gift with thine own blood. 

 

FAUSTUS: (Stabbing his arm, blood dripping onto light box)  I, John Faustus, of Wittenberg, Doctor, do give both body and soul to Lucifer prince of the east, and his minister Mephistophilis; and furthermore grant unto them, that, four-and-twenty years being expired, full power to fetch the said John Faustus, body and soul, flesh and blood, into their habitation wheresoever. By me, John Faustus. 

 

 

BOX 2:  Good Angel, Evil Angel

 

GOOD ANGEL. Faustus, repent; yet God will pity thee. 

 

EVIL ANGEL. Faustus art a spirit; God cannot pity thee. 

 

FAUSTUS. (out of light)  Who buzzeth in mine ears I am a spirit? Be I a devil, yet God may pity me; Yea, God will pity me, if I repent.

 

GOOD ANGEL. Never too late, if Faustus will repent.

 

EVIL ANGEL. If Faustus repent, devils will tear thee in pieces.

 

GOOD ANGEL. Repent, and they shall never raze thy skin. 

 

 

BOX 4:  Heaven and Hell

 

FAUSTUS. Was Lucifer an angel once?

 

MEPHIST. Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov'd of God. 

 

FAUSTUS. How comes it, then, that he is prince of devils?

 

MEPHIST. O, by aspiring pride and insolence; For which God threw him from the face of heaven.

 

FAUSTUS. And what are you that live with Lucifer?

 

MEPHIST. Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer, Conspir'd against our God with Lucifer, And are for ever damn'd in hell with Lucifer.

 

FAUSTUS.  Where is hell?

 

MEPHIST. Within the bowels of these elements, Where we are tortur'd and remain for ever: All places shall be hell that are not heaven.

 

FAUSTUS. I think hell's a fable. 

 

MEPHIST. Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.

 

 

BOX 5:  Comedy 

 

This scene is done in sit-com character voices. Laugh track?

 

ROBIN:  Faustus got some splainin' to do. 

 

RAFE:  What'chu talkin' bout, Robin? 

 

FAUSTUS:  Eat my shorts!

 

MEPHIST:  By the power of Lucifer! 

 

RAFE:  D'oh! 

 

MEPHIST:  One of these days, strait to the moon!

 

ROBIN:  Creepy, kookie, spooky, ookie.

 

FAUSTUS:  I'm coming to join you, Lucifer! 

 

RAFE:  Yabba dabba do!

 

ROBIN:  Shut up, Meathead! Cut that jibba jabba! 

 

RAFE:  Hey, hey, hey. (or) Cowabunga! 

 

ROBIN:  Rafe, you dipstick!

 

RAFE:  Good grief!

 

ROBIN:  The balcony is closed. 

 

FAUSTUS:  Make it so, number one. 

 

MEPHIST:  I love it when a plan comes together. 

 

 

BOX 7:  Clock 

 

FAUSTUS: (panicked) The serpent that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus. 

 

 

BOX 4:  Heaven and Hell

 

FAUSTUS:  O Christ, my Saviour, my Saviour, Help to save distressed Faustus' soul! 

 

          Enter Lucifer.

 

LUCIFER:  Christ cannot save thy soul, for he is just.

 

FAUSTUS:  O, what art thou that look'st so terribly?

 

LUCIFER:  I am Lucifer. Thou call'st of Christ, contrary to thy promise. Thou art damned; think thou of hell. 

 

FAUSTUS:  Pardon Faustus for this, Faustus vows never to look to heaven.

 

 

BOX 6:  7 Deadly Sins

 

Lucifer changes the box, and becomes a bit of a game show host.

 

LUCIFER:  Faustus, we are come from hell in person to shew thee some pastime: sit down, relax, and thou shalt behold… the Seven Deadly Sins! 

 

PRIDE:  I am Pride. I am like a flea; I can creep into every corner of a wench; sometimes, I sit upon her brow; next, like a necklace, I hang about her neck; then, like a fan of feathers, I kiss her lips.

 

COVETOUSNESS:  I am Covetousness, might I now obtain my wish, this house, you, and all, should turn to gold, that I might lock you safe into my chest:  O my sweet gold! 

 

ENVY:  I am Envy, I cannot read, and therefore wish all books burned. I am lean with seeing others eat. O, that there would come a famine over all the world, that all might die, and I live alone! then thou shouldst see how fat I'd be. 

 

WRATH:  I am Wrath. I had neither father nor mother:  I leapt out of a lion's mouth when I was scarce an hour old; I was born in hell; and look to it, for some of you shall be my father. 

 

GLUTTONY:  I am Gluttony. my father was a Gammon of Bacon, my mother was a Hogshead of Claret-wine; my godfathers were these, Peter Pickled-herring and Martin Martlemas-beef; but my godmother, O, she was an ancient gentlewoman; her name was Margery March-beer. 

 

SLOTH:  Heigho! I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank. Heigho! I'll not speak a word more for a king's ransom. 

 

LECHERY:  Who, I, sir? I am one that loves an inch of raw mutton better than an ell of fried stock-fish; and the first letter of my name begins with L. 

 

 

BOX 7:  Clock 

 

FAUSTUS:  (scared, resolved.) Gentlemen, farewell: if I live till morning, I'll visit you; if not, Faustus is gone to hell. 

 

 

BOX 5:  Joys of the Deed

 

POPE:  At the banquet, I draw near to the Cardinal of Lorraine when a voice out of nowhere says, "The devil choke you!" I called: "How now, who's that which spake?" Then my dainty dish of meat is snatched from me, and my drink too, into thin air. I bade my Friars prepare a dirge to lay the fury of this ghost. 

 

Pope exits. Enter a Horse-Courser.  

 

HORSE-COURSER:  Yesterday I bought a horse, buttock as slick as an eel, from Dr. Faustus for forty dollars. A deal. He warned me not to ride him in the water, but I thought whatever; so, I rode him into a great river. Next thing I know I'm straddling hay. So, I served Faustus at his home that evening whilst he was asleep, took him by the leg, and pulled it right off! So I ran. Now I hear he has anther leg. And the one I have is in mine hostry, and I'm out eighty dollars. Don't ask. 

 

He exits. Enter a Countess.  

 

COUNTESS:  It is January and the dead of winter, I would desire no better meat than dish of ripe grapes. Dr. Faustus sends his man away, and returns with the best grapes that ere I tasted in my life before. Whilst I live, rest beholding for this courtesy. 

 

She exits. Enter an Emperor.  

 

EMPEROR:  He raised Alexander the Great from the dead. It was a spectacle. Faustus received from me a bounteous reward. 

 

He exits. Enter a Scholar.  

 

SCHOLAR:  Helen of Greece was the most admirable lady that ever lived. Master Doctor did us the favor of letting us marvel again at her heavenly beauty which passeth all compare. Blest be Faustus evermore. 

 

She changes the box, walks US into black.

 

 

BOX 7:  Clock 

 

Behind them, in black:  

 

FAUSTUS:  One thing, good servant, let me crave of thee, That I may have unto my paramour That heavenly Helen which I saw of late. 

 

MEPHIST:  This Shall be perform'd in twinkling of an eye. 

 

          The scholar becomes Helen.

 

FAUSTUS:  Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?-- Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.--

 

He kisses her. 

Faustus enters the light.  

 

FAUSTUS:  (panicing.) Hell claims his right, and with a roaring voice. Wretch, what hast thou done? Damned art thou Faustus, damned; despair and die! 

 

The clock chimes twelve times during scene as the light slowly fades.

 

FAUSTUS:   It strikes, it strikes!  Now, body, turn to air, Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell! O soul, be chang'd into small water-drops, And fall into the ocean, ne'er be found! 

 

Thunder.

 

O, mercy, heaven! look not so fierce on me! Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while! Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!  I'll burn my books!--O Mephistophilis! 

 

It is black. The clock chimes it's last.




Copyright © K. Brian Neel. All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in newspaper, magazine, radio or television reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.Professional and amateurs are hereby warned that this material, being fully protected under the Copyright Laws of the United States of America and of all other countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions, is subject to a royalty. All rights including, but not limited to, professional, amateur, recording, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio and television broadcasting, and the rights of translation into foreign languages are expressly reserved. Particular emphasis is placed on the question of readings and all uses of this play by educational institutions, permission for which must be secured from the authorá║s representatives. For all rights, including amateur and stock performances, contact K. Brian Neel.