FAUST 3: THE TURD COMING, OR THE FART OF THE DEAL to Satirize Trump Fiasco Onstage This June
The play presents a Faustian bargain between the populace, and their chosen king, a deceptive, Mephisophelean clown figure. Although the clown is offensive, vulgar, and evil, the people agree to sign away their future on the gamble that the clown will improve their lives. They are shat upon instead. In sermon-like tweets, the clown king communicates his predatory intentions, based on perversions of the Beatitudes ("BLESSED ARE THE RICH FOR THEY DESERVE IT ALL") and other parts of the Gospels. The sensitive ego of the clown king leads to nuclear war and worldwide devastation.
The script adapts and mangles Goethe's "Faust" (Parts 1 and 2) and the Gospels in the King James translation, as well as bits of Yeats, Shakespeare, Christmas carols, Stephen Foster, John Donne, Heiner Müller, Julia Ward Howe, Abel Meeropol, and others.
The performance will take place in the found environment of the Meeting Room, a landmarked Neo-Renaissance sanctuary designed by architect Stanford White and sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens, with the largest collection of John Lafarge staiNed Glass windows in the world. The actors will use microphones as they move about the space, speaking directly to the live audience. With demonic evangelism, they will also sing, dance, and perform tricks and mock religious rituals while celebrating the clown king. Music will include drums, melodica, recorded music (classical to pop), Christian anthems, Christmas Carols and computer-generated sound.
The actors/clowns are Ayun Halliday, Aiden O'Shea, Regina Strayhorn and Ben Watts. Lighting design is by Kia Rogers. Costume design is by Scout Isensee. Scenic and prop design are by Jarrod Beck. Video projections are by Melissa Friedling.
IF YOU GO:
June 11 to 26, 2017
The Meeting Room of Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
Presented by Skylight ProductionsSunday, June 11@ 9:30 pm; Monday, June 12 @ 9:30 pm; Thursday, June 15 @ 9:30 pm; Friday, June 16 @ 10:00 pm; Sunday, June 18 @ 9:30 pm; Monday, June 19 @ 9:30 pm; Thursday, June 22 @ 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm; Friday, June 23 @ 11:00 pm; Saturday, June 25 @ 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Monday, June 26 @ 9:30 pm.
Tickets $25. Box office: 800-838-3006 (Brown Paper Tickets), www.brownpapertickets.com
Show's website: www.faust3theturdcoming.com
Running time: 60 min. Critics are invited on or after June 12.
Playwright Paul David Young is author, most recently, of "Kentucky Cantata" (HERE, 2015). His "In the Summer Pavilion," a Backstage Critic's Pick, was hailed by critic Eric Haagenson as a highlight of the 2011 NY International Fringe Festival. It was subsequently produced Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in 2012. His "Clown Play" (2013 New York International Fringe Festival) was hailed by The Village Voice as "intelligently bizarre." His "No One But You" won the Kennedy Center's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and was a finalist for the Kendeda Fellowship. His one-act, "Aporia," was a finalist for the Kennedy Center's John Cauble Short Play Award. Another short play, "Christians Having Sex in Silence," was a semifinalist in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival in 2011. His work has also been performed at MoMA PS1, Marlborough Gallery, Living Theatre, apexart, The Brick, LMAK Projects, Lion Theatre, C.O.W. Theater, Kraine Theater, Chain Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, Red Room, and Kaffileikhusid in Reykjavik. His translations, with Carl Weber, of Heiner Müller's "Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome" and "Macbeth" were published in 2012. He is a Contributing Editor at PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (MIT Press). He also writes for Art in America and Hyperallergic. His book newARTtheatre: Evolutions of the Performance Aesthetic, about visual artists appropriating theatre, was issued by PAJ in 2014. He is a graduate of Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa), Columbia Law School (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), and the New School for Drama (MFA Playwriting) and was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. Among his residencies was LMCC's five-month Process Space residency on Governors Island in 2015, where he conceived and performed "Curtain Wall Part 3: An Immersive Landscape Theater Performance of Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander," in which he swam across New York Harbor.
"Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal," like many of the dark, poetic plays of Heiner Müller and the savagely funny dramas of Elfriede Jelinek, has no fixed characters. Like Müller's Shakespeare adaptations that the playwright worked on, its text is in iambic pentameter, but the play will not be spoken as verse. "The blank verse," writes Young, "was just a way for me to write the play and form it." The script is mostly written in all-caps. In his author's notes, Young writes, "Müller is cavalier about punctuation, which is a special offense in German, where all nouns are capitalized. Müller often uses all caps, or, deviating in the other direction, lower case for everything....I popped on the CAPS LOCK and the play flew out of me."
The concept of the clown was also integral for him. Young writes, "In working on the translation of Müller's 'Titus,' I had become very interested in how the clown figure functioned in Müller's play and in Shakespeare's version. The tradition of the fool goes back to time immemorial, and plays a significant role in Shakespeare. The clown can speak truth to power in classic texts. So it is in 'Faust 3.'"
Director Augustus Heagerty recently staged "Fade to White" by Franco Giocomarra at Fordham University. Regionally, he has developed and directed plays for Burning Coal Theatre, American Theatre Company, National Players @ OlneyTheatre Center, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, (D.C.), Source Festival and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. He was Assistant Director for the Shakespeare TheatreCompany (D.C.) for three seasons, where he assisted over thirteen productions, and was a 2010 Kenan Directing Fellow at the Kennedy Center.
Melissa Friedling (video projections) is a film and video artist, writer, and commercial web video producer and Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at the New School. Her creative work has been selected for numerous international festivals and has also been presented in galleries and museums including PS1 MoMA, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo), The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), and Apex Art (NYC). She has been an artist in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (NYC) and is the recipient of a Fulbright Award and artist's grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts.
Jarrod Beck (scenic and prop design) is an installation artist, printmaker and sculptor. He has created outdoor sculptures for Socrates Sculpture Park (Astoria, NY), Sara D. Roosevelt Park (NYC), Calder Plaza (Grand Rapids, MI) and the Anti-Defamation League (Omaha, NE); installations at Wave Hill, South Street Seaport Museum, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Instituto Cervantes, Rhode Island School of Design, Stony Brook University, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Cape Cod National Seashore and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. His drawings are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. His recent collaborations include an installation for performance artist John Kelly's "Love of a Poet" and a series of prop-sculptures for the choreographer Jon Kinzel.
The ensemble members are a witches' brew of crazy talents, including deep experience in movement, improvisation, and clowning. Ayun Halliday was a member of the Neo-Futurists from 1989 to 1998 and was co-founder of Theater of the Apes. She is a 2017 Target Margin Theater Institute Fellow. Regina Strayhorn has performed at EST, Dixon Place, The Secret Theatre and Lincoln Center. As her alter-ego Clarissa, she fronts a band, Bandits on the Run, whose debut album, The Criminal Record, was released in March 2017. Aiden O'Shea performed with The Pickle Family Circus from 1992 to 2005 and teaches movement and acrobatics in schools across the nation. Ben Watts, who danced with Daniel West Dance Company, Laura Dean Dancers, Marta Renzi, Lance Gries, and Howard Fireheart, now appears regularly with Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre.
Pictured: Ben Watts (ensemble). Photo by Jonathan Slaff.