Faust/Gastronome (1994) Photo/Foto: HIDVL
  • Title: Faust/Gastronome
  • Alternate Title: Gastronome
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 02:00:16
  • Language: English, German
  • Date: 1994
  • Location: Riverside Church, New York City.
  • Type-Format: play, performance
  • Cast: Jeff Rickets (Faust), Rebecca Ortese (Mephistopheles), Shaula Chambliss (Gretchen), Ulla Neuerburg (Hitler), David Letwin (Albert Speer), Dan Berkey (Maria), Vernice Miller (Talkshow Host), Drew Barr, Frank Wood ; Ralph Denzer (musician), Michelle Kinney (musician).
  • Credits: Richard Schechner, producer, director, writer, adaptation ; East Coast Artists, producer ; Sheldon Deckelbaum, assistant director ; inspired by medieval 'Faustbuch', Christopher Marlowes 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Wolfgang von Goethes 'Faust', and Charles Gounods opera 'Faust' ; Ralph Denzer, composer ; Annee Vitiello, stage manager ; Chris Muller, environment ; Russel Champa, lighting ; Constance Hoffman, costumes.

Faust/Gastronome (1994)

Richard Schechner's East Coast Artists bring this foundational Western myth forward to the end of the 20th century with Faust as a cook-alchemist. Food preparation and consumption is the ruling metaphor for the destructive appetites of Western expansion culminating in both the Nazi crime of genocide and the post-industrial excesses of globalization and genetic manipulation. Schechner and his colleagues rework the story. Mephistopheles played by a woman dressed as a man but not disguising her "actual" gender is assisted by Hitler, also played by a woman. Part One of Faust/gastronome draws heavily on Goethe, tracing Faust's seduction of Gretchen (aided by Mephistopheles) and his abandoning her to her death. A considerable portion of the dialogue is Goethe's, performed in German. Part Two Schechner describes as a "tragedy of development." Here Faust heads the "Fist Group" of corporations involved in genetic engineering and global exploitation. Just before his death and damnation, Faust meets Gretchen who has come to seek him out and help bring him to hell. At one point, Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, appears on a talk show justifying World War II and the Holocaust. Later, Faust and a neo-Nazi teenage appear on the same show. The set features three sturdy wooden tables used in many configurations to contain the action. On a platform upstage, composer Ralph Denzer leads a small jazz ensemble.