Dr. Frederick Turner - Translator
"For many decades I have been aware of Goethe’s Faust as a gigantic presence behind so many of the ideas, artistic themes, and emerging perspectives that I was exploring in the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and modernity. At the same time my work with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth translating the great Hungarian and German poets had drawn me toward Goethe, and drew both of us toward the writer who drew so many seeds of culture together and caused them to grow in so many fields of literature, drama, philosophy, psychology, and science. We agreed that Goethe had been poorly served by his English language translators, and felt that our method of intensive collaboration combined with faithful observance of the meter and prosody of the original might do better. After producing a collection of Goethe’s shorter poetry, we decided to tackle the great mountain of Faust, with a special emphasis on its dramatic playability, and an awareness of it as exciting, passionate, and often hilarious theater. We felt also that the ethical, religious and psychosexual issues that the play explores were peculiarly relevant to our own times."
Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath - Translator
"Over many years, my friend and colleague Fred Turner and I have translated into English and published the works of some of the greatest Hungarian poets, such as Janos Arany, Sandor Petofi, Atilla Jozsef, Miklos Radnoti, and others. A while ago, we have decided to attempt translating the lyrical work of one of the world-renown German poet: Johann Wolfgang Goethe's dramatic poem, FAUST."
Most scholars of German literature believe that the year when Goethe undertook this task was as early as 1768. But he progressed faster with his other works, publishing FAUST, A FRAGMENT as late as 1790. First of all, leaving Frankfurt in 1765, he enrolled in Leipzig University. But he fell ill and returned to his parents' house. Healing at home, he became interested in mystical and occult ideas, both of which made a deep impression on his life and work, at least for a while. In 1770, he returned to his studies, this time in Strassburg. He lived there when he fell in love with Friederike Brion, writing to her some of the most beautiful love poems of the time. With the passing of the years, he experienced ever new love affairs; and his work become more and more simple and more sophisticated, mirroring the poet's life experience. Influenced by Shakespeare as well as by the ancient German fairytales and those of the Middle Ages, he became interested in the Faust-Legend.
At the center of the first part of the play is the passionate love affair between Faust and Margarete, and the tragic ending of their relationship. Clearly seeing the grotesque "ideal" of his society: the passionate love of the individual, which is against the "laws of the community" therefore, it must end in death. Recalling the ancient image of love which ends tragically, Gretchen must leave this world as well, and Faust himself only survives because he must survive in order to try to live again and again."
Process of Creating UTD's Production
After UTD's campus moved to remote learning, the future of this project was left in doubt. The creative team and cast searched for the best option to proceed and it was agreed that we should turn this work into a radio play. However, unlike a traditional recording in front of live audience or even with performers in the same room, this recording had to be created in our individual homes. Due to the stay at home order, the company had to quickly adjust to turning closets and bedrooms into makeshift recording studios. Director Raphael Parry rehearsed scenes with the performers via online platforms and microphones were sent to the cast members to record from home. The actor's work now centers primarily on the language of this dramatic poem. All of their audio has been shared with our technical directors and crew, who have compiled and edited the recordings from their homes. We have all learned a lot in this process.
Interview with Director Raphael Parry
Guilherme Almeida - Original Compositions, Music Direction, and Piano
"When Raphael Parry contacted me last June about the opportunity of composing the score for Faust, I was both ecstatic and slightly intimidated. Faust is a rich and tragic story, previously complimented with music by Berlioz, Gounod, Mahler, Spohr, and Wagner. The details about the actual project unfolded over the subsequent months, and while we studied the logistics of the execution, I deeply resonated with the prospect of staging a new translation and stage adaptation of Faust. Goethe's Romanticism populated my teenage years, when I first interacted with his poetry - especially Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt and the similar sentiments mirrored in the work of Brazilian Romantic Poet Antônio Gonçalves Dias.
Faust at UTD allowed me to compose a score inspired by the Sturm und Drang musical aesthetics. Throughout the processes of writing and rehearsing the music for Faust I looked for the internal dissonances within the story and explored its moral and epistemological tensions by creating an abstract world for the instrumental soundscape. While working with the ensemble for the magical moments, we explored together techniques of vocal resonance drawn from Feral Voices (Phil Minton) which was fun especially for the monkeys/meerkats vocal work. We also played with free musical improvisation and Conduction techniques (Butch Morris & London Improvisers Orchestra). Originally, the piece was orchestrated for Strings, Reeds, Percussion, and Piano. The songs within the play seek to provide a naturalistic approach to word painting, while supporting the shape and meter of the verse."
While we cannot present FAUST in a theatre, we have kept some of the design team's work. In the following videos, our design team talks about their creative contributions to the project.
Bryan Wofford, Scenic Designer
Michael Robinson, Costume Designer
Safwan Chowdhury, Sound Designer (Student)
Mackenzie Ryann Flynn, Projection Designer (Student)