Tales from the Vault: Doctor Faustus

Posted on Oct 4th, 2012 in OSF Archives

What’s Past Is Prologue

We make connections around here, lots of them. This year we reconnect with The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, first done here in 1979. Jerry Turner directed that show and this year it is dedicated to him. Jim Edmondson acted in it and this year he directs it. Richard Hay, Todd Barton and Douglas Faerber worked on that show, as they do again this year. What’s more, Angus Bowmer saw that show, during rehearsals, since he died shortly before it opened. This year we continue to celebrate Angus’s vision.

Jim Sandoe, a director both here and in Colorado, was a mentor to Barry Kraft, Jim, Jerry and Hilary Tate, among others. Jim had a special connection to the play, having directed and played Faustus in a 1934 production which was staged by The Palo Alto Community Players. In his acknowledgements he mentioned his debt to Dr. Margery Bailey. And it was Dr. Bailey who brought him to Ashland. A few weeks ago, Barry told me that during rehearsals they listened to a 1964 record of Jim reciting lines from Doctor Faustus.

In August, 1965, the Institute of Renaissance Studies, forerunner of our Education department, presented The Classic Marionettes of Peter Arnott’s production of Doctor Faustus. It played in daily rotation with Euripides’ Cyclops in the old YMCA building, site of the current Angus Bowmer Theatre.

Let’s just hope we don’t make another connection with the weather, as we did on opening night in 1979. On with the show!

Editor’s note: When questioned regarding the weather connection, the author declined to use the R word.

Written originally for
The Company Call, June 2005, by Kit Leary.