Doctor Faustus
by Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe - Doctor Faustus

BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3

Broadcast: Sunday 23rd September 2007 @ 8:00 p.m.

"Doctor Faustus", first published in 1604, is the most famous of Marlowe’s plays, and its hero, who sells his soul to the devil in return for twenty-four years of power and pleasure, by far the best-known of his rebellious protagonists. It is a tragic story of a man who defies the authority of God by selling his place in heaven for knowledge and power on earth.

In "Doctor Faustus", Marlowe questions why man is put on the earth. We see in Faustus a man opposing and questioning the order of the cosmos and railing against the confines of human knowledge. While the play shares many of the characteristics of medieval morality plays it cannot be defined solely in this way. Faustus can be seen as a tragic hero. He is a man who through his thirst for knowledge and his desire to go beyond the accepted wisdom of his time is ultimately destroyed. It is Faustus’ defiance and his rebellion against the confines of his world that make him so compelling.

Marlowe was stabbed to death aged 29, while he was under investigation for heresy. Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Council later pardoned the man who killed him. Might Marlowe have had something of Faustus in him?

In this new production by BBC Radio 3, in association with the Open University, devilish displays, ghostly apparitions, angels and the horrors of hell are brought to life in a wildly anarchic sound score composed by Olly Fox, with sound design by Steve Brooke.

Dramatised from Christopher Marlowe's 1588 play, "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus", first published in 1604.

With Paterson Joseph [Dr. Faustus], Ray Fearon [Mephistopheles], Toby Jones [Wagner], Julian Bleach [Lucifer], David Bradley [The Old Man], Janet McTeer [The Evil Angel], Tanya Moodie [The Good Angel / The Duchess], Anton Lesser [The Emperor], David Bamber [The Pope / Valdes], Paul Bazely [Cornelius], Nicholas Burns [Robin], Iain Robertson [Rafe], John Lloyd Fillingham [Scholar / Horse-Courser], Don Gilet [Scholar / Knight], and Derek Riddell [Scholar / The Duke].

All other parts were played by the company.

Original music was composed by Olly Fox.

Directed by Nadia Molinari .

100 min.


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