Saturday, March 5, 2011

Faust or, Why Satan Would Make a Good Flasher.

There's a lot of things to do at Indiana University.  Granted, a lot of those things involve drinking, but what can you do.  Some of them, however, are geared to a classier sort of folk, myself included. 

My friend Claudia and I decided to go out last night, since the only alternative we had was sitting in our dorm rooms, lonely, surfing the internet.  I had  wanted to see Faust for a while, and since it was  coming round we decided to attend.

When we arrived, we realized we were severely under-dressed. Like penguins showing up to a peacock party, we walked into a dress-filled room in jeans. I, personally, felt like a winner.

We found our seats and sat down between an elderly couple and a middle-aged man, the youngest people in the theatre.  Neither of us knew quite what the opera was about, but we weren't too concerned.  All of the singing was to be in French, but there were, thankfully, super titles (which are not little floating Supermen holding cue cards).

The opera started with a lovely piece by the band, and the curtains rose to show Faust, an old man, contemplating suicide.  I was already feeling cheerful that day, and this just put a cherry on top.  Eventually, Faust calls on the Devil to make a deal with him, and Mephistopheles, AKA Beelzebub, obliges.  But, instead of just showing up like a normal demon-of-the-underworld, six of him show up simultaneously.

Six.  Six of these.
 To get Faust to sell him his soul, Mephistopheles tempts him with the love of a beautiful woman.  Faust, of course, agrees.

But I would like to make a point here: Faust is old.  Seventy or eighty, if not more.  Yet here he is, lusting after a nineteen-year-old girl.  I just want you to imagine the implications of that.

Anyway, Faust spends the next Act and a half trying to woo this woman.  The beginning of the Second Act finds Faust and Mephistopheles in the woman's garden. Mephistopheles is disguised, so the mortals who happen to walk by won't notice that he's the Prince of Darkness. He is wearing a trench coat.

Faust and his jail bait spend the next half hour singing lovingly to one another, which is beautiful and all, but the only thing I could pay attention to was Mephistopheles.  He spends that half hour appearing and disappearing behind a large bush that's downstage.  Wearing his trench coat. And totally looking like a flasher. If you couple this with the half-crazed smile he constantly had plastered across his face, he looked kind of like this:

Screw you guys, I'm SATAN.
And so I begin to silently break down.  I'm trying to hold back my laughter, and it is almost successful. I make it to the intermission, and then I mention it to Claudia. In between wild bouts of laughter and the disapproving glare of the multitudinous elderly around us, we decide that Satan would make the world's best flasher.  Perhaps even the world's classiest flasher.

About ten minutes into the final act I remember that there were a half-dozen Mephistopheleses running around in trench coats. Now I can't stop worrying for humanity.

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