Conspiracy theories concerning who wrote the plays that are under the name William Shakespeare have become almost as famous as the plays themselves. The theories are many, and one is that the actual genius behind them was Christopher Marlowe and that Shakespeare was the one behind Marlowe’s death in order to conceal the truth. Nothing makes a fictional story as thrilling as its back story, so having this back story in mind may just make a play about devils by Marlowe performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre even more chilling.
K Cineplex theatres in Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos will take us to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London on Friday, where actors Arthur Darvill, Paul Hilton and Jade Williams will deliver a spine-tingling spectacle as they unravel the tale of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. This production of Marlowe’s most renowned and controversial work will have the audience sitting on the edge of its seats – even the end of the tragedy is already known.
Directed by Matthew Dunster, the play that is considered to be the greatest tragedy in the English language before Shakespeare, is staged at the Globe theatre for the first time in order to delight even the Prince of Darkness himself.
Doctor Faustus, or The Tragic History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, is based on German stories about the title character. The play, which is famous for being the first dramatised version of the German tales, was first performed sometime between 1588 and Marlowe’s death in 1593.
The tragedy begins with Faustus in his study. He broods over the four subjects of humanistic study: philosophy, medicine, law and divinity. He has mastered them all and rejects them in favour of magic. He conjures up Lucifer’s servant and intermediary, the devil Mephistopheles and in exchange for 24 years of luxury and unquestioning service from Mephistopheles, Faustus offers to give his soul to Lucifer. While Mephistopheles leaves to confer with his superior Faustus’ Good Angel urges him to renounce magic and repent while his Bad Angel tempts him with honour and wealth. When Mephistopheles returns, it is clear that the Bad Angel has managed to win Faustus over. The deal must be signed in blood but when Faustus prepares to sign, his blood congeals and Mephistopheles must warm it to make it flow again and hence the contract is signed.
Faustus interrogates Mephistopheles about astronomy, philosophy and divinity but becomes increasingly disillusioned with the answers he receives. He starts to doubt the bargain, but Mephistopheles has plenty of entertainment at hand to keep the doctor’s mind off his eternal damnation.
The play’s conclusion warns us of what could happen to us if we continuously thirst for knowledge and power.
Screening of the performance from the Globe theatre. January 26. K Cineplex Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. 7.30pm. €8/10. Tel: 77-778383