Alan Marshall Bella Edwards Bob Howourth Brian Davis Brenda Cook Carol Chilcott Claude Rimmer David Conn David Glover-Kirk David Parry-Jones David Scott David Talbot faustus group Jack Mundy Jacky Long Joan Clews Joan Goodyear John Vowles Kathy Stewart Kevin Hogan Lizzie Lane Lyn Martin Mary Lansdown Nicholas Selway Peter Sutton Richard Edwards Robert Chapman Robert Tooze Royston Tanner Sarah McGreevy Stephen Canaby This River Winding Tina Kelly Tom Hodson georgeT

About Marlowe Synopsis Theme Art Text

To prepare Faustus for the stage, the Portway Players made many alterations to Marlowe’s text. This was done for a number of reasons, including:

To see how this was done, let’s look at one small part of text, the prologue, and investigate how the Portway Players edited it, keeping accessibility and themes in mind.

marlowe’s prologue

Not marching now in fields of Thrasimene,

Where Mars did mate the Carthaginians,

Nor sporting in the dalliance of love,

In courts of Kings where state is overturned,

Nor in the pomp of proud audacious deeds,

Intends our Muse to daunt his heavenly verse:

Only this, gentlemen: we must perform,

The form of Faustus' fortunes good or bad.

To patient Judgments we appeal our plaud,

And speak for Faustus in his infancy.

Now is he borne, his parents base of stock,

In Germany, within a town called Rhodes:

Of riper years to Wittenburg he went,

Whereas his kinsmen chiefly brought him up;

So soon he profits in divinity,

The fruitful plot of scholarism graced,

That shortly he was graced with doctor's name,

Excelling all, whose sweet delight disputes

In heavenly matters of theology,

'Til swollen with cunning of a self conceit,

His waxen wings did mount above his reach,

And, melting, heavens conspired his overthrow;

For falling to a devilish exercise,

And glutted more with learning's golden gifts,

He surfeits upon cursed necromancy.

Nothing so sweet as magic is to him

Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss.

And this the man that in his study sits.

portway players’ prologue

Enter Roy, Jacky, Richard, Alan, Alex, Tina, Kevin, Chris, Sarah, Steve K. George, Liz, Steve C. Marilyn, Claude take positions on stage, look at audience; off stage: Mary, Brian, Jenny.

a sketch of actors at the start of the play
Prologue by Carol Chilcott

Roy: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome. We are a group of eighteen Players, each one of us holding a book. We ask you, our audience, to watch while we tell you a story.

Jacky: Not a story of battles or love or heroes

Roy:  But a story of a man, an ordinary man

Chris: Are we not all ordinary men?

Mary (get book of shelf): The story of a man called Faustus

All: Faustus

Roy: An ordinary man

Mary: We ask you to make careful judgments

All: Careful judgments

Roy: About what happens to Faustus, good or bad.

(Enter Jenny, comes to front)

Jenny: Imagine now a library

Jacky: Shelves and shelves of books, 

Mary: Imagine us as people who love books

(Everyone hold books close to their hearts)

Roy: Imagine us as scholars, professors, men and women of learning.    (Pause, enter Brian)   

Imagine us reading

All: Reading.

(everyone reads)

Roy: This is where the story starts, amongst books

Brian: Hundreds and thousands of books

Mary: Books as far as the eye can see

Roy: You can smell the pages, the ink, the bindings, (breath)

You can hear the pages turning   (turn pages)

Mary: Now we will tell you the story...  (Mary opens book)

Mary: John Faustus was born in Germany, His parents were poor and working class. When he got older he moved to a university town to be brought up by relatives.

Roy: He studied hard and became a scholar

Mary: Then he became a doctor:

All: Doctor Faustus      (everyone stops reading, looks at audience)

Roy: Here is Faustus

Steve: I am Faustus

Roy: Here is Faustus, going to his study, sitting, reading.

(Tina lights the candle)

Roy: Here is his colleague, lighting a candle on his desk. And by the light of the single flame, Faustus reads and reads and reads.

(Steve starts to study. Everyone watches Steve)

Mary: Top of the class, studying theology. He gets big-headed, becomes cunning and too ambitious. He has all the golden gifts of learning but he is greedy for more.

Roy: His waxen wings did mount above his reach

And melting heavens conspired his overthrow.

Mary: He starts to study evil ways, prefers magic to truth, wants more and more and more.

Steve, closes book, stands up: More books!

Faustus rejects conventional learning, video clip
Goodbye to those books, video clip

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