Saturday, November 21, 2009

toy theater Faust

Young Faust, as we shall call him, was born to farmers in a small German town towards the end of the 15th Century. In other words, if you had any imagination, like our young hero, you were bored shitless.
His only outlet was reading the Holy Bible, which was packed full of high adventure, and plenty of sex.
When he got a little older, and less inclined to pay attention, he was sent to live with a kinsman in Wittenberg.
When he was of age he entered the Univesity there, where he studied Theology. Later, after being unofficially kicked out for extracurricular activities - especially regarding the rumour that he had impregnated the gravedigger's daughter, who was now seen wandering around with her belly swelling - he hit the road.
He managed to acquire the post of schoolmaster after befriending the humanist knight Franz von Sickingen in Kreuznach. But he got into trouble again, this time for sodomy. Ironically, the one he was caught with was actually a young maid disguised as a boy to gain an education. But Faust fled to avoid arrest, as he was not certain if the authorities knew any of his other transgressions.
He wandered about for a time, telling tall tales in taverns for ale. In one such place, one Johannes Trithemius, abbot of Sponheim, and dabbler in magic (he also came up with a system of cartography) tried to meet him, but Faust knew the abbot's reputation, via his encounters with soldier, spy, medic, and occult scholar Cornelius Agrippa, who had studied under Trithemius, so he skidaddled.
Faust then headed to Krakow, where he could study magic openly.
It was there that he met an odd character who preferred to be called Mephostophiles, a name he'd come up with in some Cabalistic formula. They both also met, and fell in love with, a local beauty, Margarithe von Nesse, but she was daughter of a nobleman and, worse yet, abused wife of a respected physician. So they pined away for her, and wrote bad poetry that only the other could stand.
The two brothers, as they came to think of themselves, then set off for Rome, but ended up in Venice instead.
There Faust became insnared in the clutches of a vampire, Margherita, with whom he made a diabolical pact. Mephostophiles left for Prague on a mission, where he died under mysterious circumstances.
Faust escaped one night, headed for Prague, where, using his newly acquired necromantic skill, he raised Mephostophiles from the dead. Meph. took to the habit of a monk, to disguise his corseness.
Unfortunately, the vampire Margherita came and snatched Faust, and took him to Munich, where she locked them both in a tower, along the city wall, which became known as "Faust's Tower", having him writing horoscopes.
However, at the same time, Faust's doppelganger went out on various adventures, including visiting the Pope in Rome, and the Sultan in Byzantium, conversing with the father of Modern Chemistry, Paracelsus, and the father of Modern Astronomy, Nicholas Copernicus; he also went to Gehenna, to see just how Hellish it really was, and up to the Himalayas, to better observe the stars.
Meanwhile, to keep Faust from fleeing, Margherita had him performing magic for courts, such as the Emporer Carolo V, and faires. While performing for the Prince and Princess of Anhalt, he had an affair with a chambermaid named Gretchen. This drove Margherita to distraction. She got him a lecturing gig at the University of Erfurt. A well-known monk, Dr. Konrad Klinge, was enticed to try to convert Faust from his wicked ways, which almost succeeded, but Margherita threatened to have her familiars rip him to shreds, so he made a second pact. Klinge made a report to the Erfurt council of Faust's unrepentent ways, having Faust expelled. Margherita went after Klinge, but he repelled her with his religous paraphernalia (she was kind of stupid).
During one of his performances for some students, Faust "conjured" up Helen of Sparta, played be a beauty from a travelling troupe of players, and he fell madly in love with her. More bad poetry ensued. He tried to figure out how to escape Margherita to be with "Helen", eventually getting Mephostophiles to enlist 3 students in "kidnapping" (wink, wink) him.
Unhappily, "Helen" had fallen in love with a new addition to their troupe, and they and the troupe moved on.
In his part heartbreak over the lost "Helen", and part elation over the losing of Margherita, he spent time with the students drinking and carousing at an inn, while he also regaled them with his various adventures (including those communicated to him by his doppelganger). He also had one of the students, Kristoff Wagner, write it all down in a biography, to be hidden until after Faust's death.
One of these nights, the weather seemed somehow ominous, and Faust melancholy. The students tried to cheer him, but he warned them that it was to be a terrible night ahead; that no matter what they heard, they should remain in their beds.
And sure enough, in the wee hours of that night, as the students lay huddled in their beds, they heard a terrible commotion, their friend Faust yelling in anger or terror, and a devilish female laughter.
In the morning, upon entering Faust's room, they found it torn asunder, blood spashed everywhere, but no sign of their friend, Faust.
They believed he'd been carried off to Hell.