Archway Theatre's Edgy Adaptation of FAUSTUS To Be Staged In Woodbury University Library

By: May. 31, 2018
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Archway Theatre's Edgy Adaptation of FAUSTUS To Be Staged In Woodbury University Library

Lust, Greed, Wrath and the other Seven Deadly Sins are as prominent as Mephistophilis himself in Archway Theatre's adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's "Faustus" to be performed as a site-specific immersive production inside the Woodbury University Library June 29 through July 14. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $30.

Adapted and directed by Archway artistic director Steven Sabel, the production remains set in 16th century Europe, but follows a "more modern structure in its presentation of the story," said Sabel. Much of the script also remains in verse, he said.

"Marlowe told this age-old story to the best of his ability without getting burned at the stake for it. The 'terrible' deeds he depicted are laughable to us today. Now we have much more open reign when it comes to demonstrating just how horrible a person can be with the power of the Seven Deadly Sins at their disposal," Sabel said.

Sabel's script incorporates the use of the Seven deadly Sins throughout most of the play once the title character completes his deal with the Devil. From that point forward, the Sins are personified and "ever-present," said Sabel.

"We cast seven talented and dynamic - dare I say 'sinfully perfect' - actresses to bring these concepts of wickedness to life," Sabel said.

"Faustus" is the third production in this year's Archway Theatre season centered around the concept of presenting site-specific immersive style productions. It is their second production presented by the Woodbury University Library in Burbank. Archway opened their season with a production of "Merry Wives of Windsor" in the Library's Enkeboll Courtyard.

"Inside the library, surrounded by books, is a perfect setting for this story about a man who sells his soul for greater knowledge and power," said Sabel.

The connection goes beyond that he says. Woodbury University is located on the site of the former Villa Cabrini Academy, a Catholic academy for girls. The Woodbury Library used to be the campus chapel. Aspects of the building retain their architectural roots, including a dais at one end, and a choir loft at the other.

"It is an incredible opportunity to produce this show inside this remarkable building, and that is going to translate to the audience in so many outstanding ways," Sabel said.

Leading the cast of sinful characters is Archway resident company member Eric Castro in the title role. Castro's most recent Archway credits include Master Ford in "Merry Wives of Windsor," Friar Laurence in "Romeo and Juliet," and Claudius in "Hamlet." Castro is also an operatic principal and oratorio soloist at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Shrine Auditorium, Long Beach Carpenter Centre, Las Vegas Smith Center, and Redlands Bowl, with professional orchestras, such as California Philharmonic Orchestra, San Bernardino Symphony, Redlands Bowl Orchestra, Palisades Symphony, and Bellflower Symphony.

Archway company member Benjamin Cramer performs the role of Mephistophilis. His previous Archway credits include Slender in "Merry Wives of Windsor," and Son in "Six Characters in Search of An Author." He has appeared in numerous national and semi-national commercial spots, and has found success in several independent feature films and web projects, including 2016's "Who's Driving Doug?" - currently available for streaming through Netflix.

Five additional cast members, Ari Agbabian, John Eddings, Masi Hasher, Abigail Hunt, and Alex G. Smith, portray a total of 17 other characters in the scenes depicting the steep moral of decline of Faustus after he has signed his deed in blood.

"Our production is not for the faint of heart, and definitely for mature audiences only," said Sabel. "Once the Seven Deadly Sins are unleased, things get very real, very fast."

The Seven Deadly Sins are portrayed by Njamile Ambonisye (Lust), Marilia Colturato (Pride), Mishelle Fuentes (Sloth), Isabela Fuzaro (Greed), Clare Lahey (Envy), Angie Dobson Robbins (Gluttony), and EmLee Vassilos (Wrath).

"Audiences will see this show and easily recognize which sins represent their greatest temptations, and which sins they are most afraid of," Sabel said. "Faustus commits some heinous crimes."

Woodbury University Library is located at 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. There is free parking on campus for performances. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. on performance nights. A special opening night gala will be held following the performance Saturday, June 30. For additional information visit: www.archwayla.com or call (818)980-PLAY (7529).



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