I have attended many productions over the years that claim to be a theatrical experience unlike any other. They invariably disappoint. Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights is the exception. This extraordinary extravaganza by the insanely talented Long Cloud Youth Theatre at Wellington’s Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre (cool name!) is a night that will live long in the memory.
From pre-performance interactions with the cast onwards, the audience is sucked into the fantastic world of Doctor Faustus. There are no seats in the auditorium. The action takes place all over the place. You are part of the story—you are in the middle of the story! Some in the audience seem a little perplexed at first. Heads shake. They gyrate to the edges of the space. But the energy is infectious. Light, colour, drama. Everywhere. Your eyes dance. You don’t want to miss a moment. Hypnotic rhymes. Mesmerising lyrics. And Beethoven. A toxic combination.
By the end of the hour-long performance, even the most reserved theatregoers find themselves involved, clapping, dancing, singing alongside the actors with a vitality almost matching that of the young performers.
Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights is contemporary theatre at its best. It’s not for the pseudo-intellectuals who spend their lives expounding the centrality of realism as an aesthetic stance. Rather, it is a group of energetic young performers on a voyage of discovery, a quest to stretch their creative talents to the limit—and beyond. It’s a privilege to share this journey. And an evening I will never forget.
Photo Credit: Philip Merry