Cast of Characters:
Doctor John Faustus, professor of theology, University of Wittenberg
Wagner, his student and servant
Dicolini, a student at the university
Robin, another student
Frater Albergus, a spy for the Pope
Master Bateman, Albergus's henchman
Helen of Troy, a spirit
Mephistopheles, a demon from hell
Martin, a porter
students, demons, a barmaid
The entire play takes place in Wittenberg, Germany in late December 1519.
Scene 1: Faustus's apartment, evening
Scene 2: Albergus's room at the Boar's Bollocks Inn, the next morning
Scene 3: Faustus's classroom, late morning
Scene 4: Faustus's apartment, afternoon
Scene 5: The tavern at the Boar's Bollocks Inn, late afternoon
Scene 6: Faustus's apartment, that evening
Scene 7: The tavern in the Boar’s Bollocks Inn,
Spotlight downstage center. Enter Mephistopheles.
As all demons, in compensation for our damnation I am given the power to be in every place, and the power to render myself invisible (renders himself invisible by draping his head and shoulders with tinsel). I see you when you’re sleeping, I see you when you wake, I know if you’ve been bad or good, so…
Excuse me. It is Christmas of 1519. All of Europe lies in turmoil over the heresies of Martin Luther. The Pope and the Roman church attempt to keep repressed changes that cannot be repressed. To the West, a new world has been discovered. There is a rebirth of learning, a renewed quest for knowledge. It is an age of overreachers, where the certitudes of the Middle Ages have been challenged and in places, broken. New nations, new political movements, new commerce, new science, and old lusts. Vast opportunity for salesmen such as me.
Though you live some five centuries after the good doctor, you are bound as he by the self same laws of the universe. There, but for the grace of God, go you.
The bedroom and laboratory are dark, but four men occupy the apartment. Wagner is looking for something in the study. At the dining table, lingering over the remains of a dinner, are Frater Albergus , Master Bateman , and Doctor Faustus. Albergus is an imposing man of middle years, wearing somewhat elaborate medieval garb. Bateman is Albergus's henchman, a lascivious little man who has seen too much conniving and is cynically accustomed to it all. Wagner is Faustus's student at the university of Wittenberg, and his servant. He is waiting table at this dinner. Faustus looks exactly like Groucho Marx of the early Paramount Marx Brothers films. He wears gold wire-rimmed spectacles, a black academic gown over a loose white shirt, a sloppily tied black cravat, and tights.
It is winter and a fire burns in the fireplace. At the rear of each room a latticed window looks out on the alley behind Faustus's apartment. At the beginning of the scene Wagner leaves the commons for his study and Albergus continues his conversation with Faustus.
Bateman (smiling): I before e except after c.
Faustus: You know, to look at those teeth you'd swear they were real.
Faustus: Of course you can't. Frater Albergus, meet my apprentice, Wagner. Don't let the feckless demeanor fool you. He really is a Renaissance dope.
Wagner: Two years.
Albergus: Yet he treats you abominably. Why do you put up with it?
Wagner: I am a student of the magical arts. I seek knowledge.
Albergus: What sort of knowledge?
Wagner: The Meaning of Life.
Bateman: Big beautiful brown eyes are The Meaning of Life.
Albergus: He means magical knowledge. Am I right, son?
Wagner (hesitates): No. Learned sir, please keep my confidence. I have seen the most beautiful woman here, in Faustus's apartments. And yet she is not here, nor have I ever spied her entering or leaving. How I long to meet her! To get to?to converse with her.
Bateman: Have a friendly little chat. Discuss theology. Geometry. Anatomy.
Albergus: Was this woman Greek?
Wagner: How can one tell if a woman is Greek?
Bateman: There's a trick they do with?
Albergus: Enough, Bateman?
Faustus: Wagner! Get your sorry butt in here!
Clock: NINE O'CLOCK. THE TEMPERATURE IS TWELVE DEGREES. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?
Bateman (looking warily at Clock): I don't know about you, but I'd rather not end up as a piece of furniture.
Albergus (absorbed in his machinations): And now hear what this slack fool says. This woman he speaks of must be Helen! But we need proof more positive than this. Now hurry and find us some students we can use as spies. Have them report to my rooms at the inn directly tomorrow morning.
Faustus: Never mind that, pick a card.
As Albergus reaches out to take one…Faustus: Sorry your friend had to leave so soon. Have a cigar.
Albergus examines the cigar; he has never seen anything like this before and is not ready to take any chances with a magician like Faustus.Faustus: Just one.
Albergus: To be sure.
Faustus: I've had better smokes, but you won't be able to get them for a couple of hundred years. I just burn these ropes to drive the bugs away.
Albergus (sniffs): There does not seem to be any hint of cinnibar. How did you come by these instruments?
Faustus: That's an interesting story. I was riding a double decker down Broadway and when we took the corner to 42nd Street on two wheels (the driver was a dyspeptic Abyssinian) a young woman fell into my lap. Imagine my chagrin. Naturally I took her home with me and we became devoted friends. In the divorce settlement she got the Hemingway manuscripts, I got these stogies.
Albergus: In Nuremberg it is rumored you have had much success in conjuring the shades of historical figures.
Faustus: Hysterical figures. And I do mean figures. Remind me sometime to introduce you to Helen.
Albergus (pushing Wagner away as he tires to mop up the wine): Helen of Troy?
Faustus: Troy, Schenectady?one of those towns.
Albergus: So you have indeed raised the dead?
Faustus: She only acts that way in the mornings. Lithium deficiency.
Faustus: Are you going to smoke that cigar or eat it? Go ahead! You can pay me later.
Albergus: Pay you? Alas, Faustus, I have but little coin in pocket.
Clock: NINE THIRTY. MAYBE YOU SHOULD CHECK YOUR WALLET.
Faustus: Money, money, money! I'm sick to death of this talk of money! It's destroying our marriage! These cigars would cost a couple of guilders on the open market. Of course it's closed now, so you're left to your own devices. You did bring your devices, didn't you?
Albergus: What sort of?
Faustus: If not, you'll have to get your brothers to help you.
Albergus: I have no brothers.
Faustus: Your father must have been relieved.
Albergus: My dear Faustus, do not insult me. I may only be an itinerant scholar, but I've come all the way from Nuremberg to sit at your feet and learn.
Faustus: As long as you're down there, how about shining those shoes.
Albergus: You do not mean what you say.
Faustus: Let me tell you a thing or two
about what I mean.
I told the dean
You play it nice
I'll play it mean
It don't pay to mess with the Wittenberg Man
The Greatest Scholar in all of Europe.
I'll clean your clock
I'll drink your hock
I'll be your friend
Until the end
Or something better comes along.
Wagner: It's true, it's true
He's beat me black and blue
Don't mess with the Wittenberg Man
The Wisest Guy in all of Europe.
Faustus: I've got my magical clock
And a book full of spells
I make deals with the spirits
I wear a cap with bells
I've got a dog with a bone
The philosopher's stone
So tell all your sages
All your magical mages
It don't pay to mess with the Wittenberg Man
The Faustest Doctor in all of Europe.
Albergus: Don't get me wrong, gentle colleague
I'm not here to try your patience
I've come to praise your great achievements
Learn to follow your investigations
Into the arcane hollows
Of these hallowed halls
The ivy covered walls
Of this great institution.
I won't dis the reputation of the Wittenberg Man
The most Powerful Professor in all of Europe.
Faustus: If you're looking, pal, for knowledge
Let me give you a clue
Don't go to college
It's the worst you could do
Take my word for it, buddy
I work here every day
Before your first semester
You'll begin to fester
In a most distressful way.
But if you must matriculate
Here's a tip I can relate:
Make a deal with the devil
Before you step through the door.
Don't worry about perdition
It's a faculty tradition
He'll get you grants galore
You'll publish oceans, magic potions
Win mysterious promotions
That a Chancellor can't ignore
Take a warlock's degree
Major in astrology
For a minor, sorcery
And a concentration in dissimulation.
For whatever the alumni say
About the university way
This fact is indisputable:
That it's a storehouse of knowledge
Because none of it ever leaks out.
Wagner: None of it ever leaks out
It's sealed in weighty books where
It's a heavy-duty obligation
To open even one
That old humanistic science
That new deconstructive fun
I've been searching for it full time
But a glimpse of a pretty ankle
Is all I've ever won.
Faustus: Take the kid's word, he should know
I'm the door that he can't peek through
Can't storm or even leak through
Can't speculate or guess, no
Students aren't here to be blessed, so
Forget the father confessor
I'm the universal professor.
Still I don't want to be inhospitable
'twould be pitiful, Bro' Albergus.
Leave ambition on the doorstep
And I'm the honcho, at your service.
But just don't mess with the Wittenberg Man
The Hottest Burgher in all of Germany.
He knows where your body's buried
Or meant to be.
Faustus: But late at night, lights turned low, when you're alone with your answers? That's a different story!
Albergus: My dear colleague! There's no need to treat me like a mountebank.
Faustus: Oh, so now it's high finance? Well, money means nothing here, friend.
Albergus: Why must you keep speaking of money?
Faustus: This is a public university. What else are we going to talk about? You'll learn soon enough that a little Latin goes a long way in this institution. There used to be a little Latin around here, but he went away. That's how I got this job. You look a little Latin yourself, and I wish you'd gone with him. You foreign scholars want to dance to the music without paying the piper. And what does it get you? Asparagus, or contract bridge. But a card like you could care less who maintains the bridge contract, as long as you can pass water under it. Speaking of contracts, what makes you think you're going to get your hands on mine?
Albergus: I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.
Faustus: If you're so sure, why aren't you rich? You brute! No, don't try to apologize!
Albergus: I didn't come here to be insulted.
Faustus: This is a good place for it. Where do you usually go?
Faustus: Don't grovel, I can't pardon you. You'll have to talk to the Pope. Too bad, I hear he's not much of an audience. Well, it's certainly been a pleasure talking to myself this evening. I must visit myself more often. As for you, sir, I want you to remember that scholarship is as scholarship does, and neither does my wife, if I had one, which I don't. Nor do my children, if I had any, who would be proud of me for saying so. Now get out!
Faustus holds out his cup to Wagner.Clock: TEN O'CLOCK. ALL IS WELL.
Faustus: More wine, boy.
Scene opens in Albergus's room at The Boar's Bollocks inn . Albergus is at his table composing a report for the Pope.
Bateman: They should be here soon.
Albergus: They're completely reliable men?
Bateman: As a logician, you realize as well as I that such judgments are necessarily subjective.
Albergus: Never mind logic. Stick to the facts.
Bateman: They're men. I would say that's a completely reliable statement.
The door opens and two sloppy men come in. The darker of the two, Dicolini, wears a black hat that comes to a point that hints at the pointed skull beneath it. His coat is shabby and two sizes two small. He wears an expression of small-minded guile. His companion Robin's face is round and empty as the full moon. His ragged clothes are even shabbier than Dicolini's if that is possible. He smells like a fishmonger and a mass of curly red hair explodes from beneath his floppy hat. They come forward in unison, hands extended.Albergus: Enter.
Robin shakes his hand. Albergus recoils, draws back his hand and finds he is holding a dead fish. Robin contorts in silent laughter, slaps his knee. Albergus throws down the fish. Robin looks offended.Albergus: Noble Robin and gentle Dicolini, welcome!
Dicolini: Atsa some joke, eh boss?
Dicolini: I keepa my mouth shut for nothing. Robin, his mouth cost extra.
Robin opens his mouth and sticks out his tongue, from which a price tag dangles.
Dicolini: Atsa different story. Eyes cost more.
Albergus: No, no. 'Keep an eye on him'?that's just an expression.
Dicolini: You want the whole expression, it cost you a pretty penny. We give you a pretty expression, though.
Dicolini: How much you gonna pay?
Albergus: I'll pay you ten silver pieces.
Dicolini: We a-no want no pieces. We want the whole thing.
Dicolini: How do we know thatsa all?
Dicolini: Look, we shadow Faustus for you, how we gonna know when you give us ten pieces thatsa the whole thing?
Albergus: But I'm offering you twenty pieces for shadowning Faustus.
Dicolini: See what I mean? First you gotta ten pieces, now you gotta twenty pieces, but we no gotta the whole thing.
Albergus: You shadow Faustus for me, and then we'll talk about the whole thing.
Dicolini: You no understand. Suppose I drop a vase, itsa break. How many pieces I got? I don't know; I gotta count them. Now you give me ten pieces, you give me twenty pieces, I still don't have them all, maybe. I shatter vase, we shadow Faustus, itsa same thing: we no gonna do the job until we know we getta the whole thing.
Dicolini: We do the whole thing.
Dicolini: Stranger than who?
Albergus: Us. You and I?and your friend, of course. Strangers.
Dicolini: Hesa stranger than both of us put together.
Albergus: So I'm beginning to understand.
Dicolini: We gotta go now. We're gonna be late for the classes we wanna miss.
Albergus: My apologies for detaining you. Just make sure you get me something I can use against Faustus.
Lights come up on a classroom. At the front is a raised platform with a table, a lectern and behind it a blackboard. A window to the streets of Wittenberg at the left, a doorway at right. Students gathering before class, Among them are Albergus, sitting in the front row, and Wagner, Faustus's fag, likewise in front.
Wagner: I don't think he misunderstood anything. He did make me pick a card. Something he calls three card monte.
Albergus: He predicted your future?
Wagner: Not exactly. But he won back my salary for the next six months. As long as it keeps me close to her, it doesn’t matter.
Albergus: I see you are reading divine Homer. Practicing your Greek?
Wagner: Only dreaming of Helen, fairer
than the evening air, clad in beauty of a thousand stars. Her lips suck
forth my soul; see where it flies! Here will I dwell, for heaven be in
Over universal secrets to emote
But then one early evening as I was cleaning out his rooms
I caught a glimpse of Helen
And that was all she wrote
Yes it's true, I can't deny it
I'm in love with Helen's ghost
A spirit maiden, made of mist
My equanimity is toast
Her ectoplasmic thighs
Call from me so many sighs
That it isn't even funny
(Please don't laugh.)
Her hair it glows like golden wheat?
Let's not talk about her feet?
Skin of alabaster pure
A fleshy spirit, that's for sure
They say her face launched many ships
How I‘d love to kiss those lips
Find a way to mingle fluids
(In a chaste way, sir, of course)
To assay those frosty tetons
That a climber never clumb.
Though I cannot speak a sound sir
Please don't tell me that I'm dumb
When I think of her posterior
Fully round and fully packed
I can't imagine one superior
My imagination's racked.
Though it's true she's Greek to me
Nonetheless I seek to be
Round her temple holy shrine
Long to comprehend she's mine.
It's not a problem that's she's dead, sir.
Though my love's an ancient queen
She's as fresh as any daisy
On at Spring morn, that you've seen.
But she comes, and then she goes
She's at Faustus's beck and call
And I've not said any word to her
Just espied her from the hall
At a distance, faintly glowing
Mist of moisture on her skin
Dewy smile, one earlobe showing
But he never lets me in
How I'd love to try her virtue
And to have her try my own
But I guess that it's not destined
And I'm stuck here all alone
Facing humiliation daily
Who'm I kidding, I'm a mess
As I try to do his bidding
A mass of horny male distress
And my grades are really suffering
And my shoes are getting old
And my soul has lost its stuffing
And my bed is still and cold
Do you think I like this pining
I'm a handsome, vital man!
But the barmaids and the co-eds
Cannot lend me any hand.
So my eyes are growing shaky
My complexion is at risk
If I brush my hair much longer
I'll be bald before I'm kissed.
Sex I've found's the greatest mystery;
In that ocean, down we sink
It's the cosmic bang that made us
It's the power that I seek.
I'm in love with Homer's Helen
Homer's Helen makes me mush
Blushing like the greenest sucker
Mooning for a succubus.
Faustus: Chastity, is it? What about obedience?
Wagner: Obedience. Of course.
Wagner: That, too.
Faustus: Quit monking around, boy! Who do you think you're kidding? You'd better sit down and hibernate until that bonus in your codpiece goes away. Or is that a cod in your bonuspiece?
Dicolini: No it's not.
Faustus: Not according to that.
Dicolini: Atsa run a little fast. Shesa use quicksand.
Faustus: Oh no. You can't fool me that easily. By that housglass, it must be eleven o'clock.
Dicolini: Then class is over. Let's go, Robbie.
Faustus: Hold on, Macduff. I'm not done lecturing.
Dicolini: Too bad. We're done listening.
Faustus: Well, you can forget about leaving until my clock strikes eleven. Time is money, and my time is worth at least a couple of marks. You boys look like a couple of marks. Are you brothers?
Faustus: No thanks. I wouldn't want to take the last piece.
Dicolini: Atsa okay. He won't notice.
Faustus: Well, if you say so. Come here, young man.
Robin pulls a glowing skull from his cloak and presents it to Faustus. The class recoils. Faustus pops open its mouth and relights his cigar from the candle buring inside. He tosses the skull out the window, stands Robin in front of the chart, and backs off a step to appraise him. Moon-faced Robin looks about as intelligent as a hardboiled egg. Faustus taps his pointer against Robin's skull.Faustus: Let's take a look at your skull.
Dicolini (standing): Sure. On my pancakes, I like a maple seraph.
Faustus: No, no. Cherubs, seraphs.
Dicolini: I no like a cherub. I like a maple.
Faustus: These aren't food?they're angels.
Dicolini: I no like angel food, either.
Faustus: Well, that takes the cake. Where was I?
Dicolini (rising again): The kid knees keep their legs from bending backwards.
Faustus: Do you hear voices?
Dicolini turns around, raises his fists to accept the accolades of his fellow students. Faustus turns on him.
Dicolini: Not right now. I let you know.
Faustus: Do that. Drop me a postcard to warn me when you'll arrive. If I had a couple more students like you boys I could change gold into lead.
Dicolini: Come on, Robbie!
Wagner: But Magister, I didn't do anything!
Faustus: Since when has that made any difference
We are back in Faustus's apartment, in the study. Faustus is there, idly leafing through a copy of Esquire.With him is monstrous Mephistopheles, a demon from Hell and Faustus's servant.
Mephistopheles moves to stage front at points during this scene, addressing the audience directly in asides. Whenever he does, Faustus freezes in place in the background until Mephisto returns and takes up his place in the conversation.
Clock: FOUR O'CLOCK. HOW MUCH LONGER DO I HAVE TO KEEP DOING THIS?
Mephisto: Midnight tonight, noble Faustus. Then do the jaws of hell open to receive thee.
Faustus: How late do they stay open?
Mephisto: Long enough to swallow thee up, soul and socks.
Faustus (holding up cigar): Light it.
Faustus: You're not much of a travel agent. 'See Dis and die.'
Mephisto: Usually it's the other way around.
Faustus: You're right. Dis ain't no joke.
Mephisto: Fools that will laugh on earth must weep in hell.
Faustus: You won't settle for a moan in Cologne?
Mephisto (aside): Grubs on the eyeballs. Perhaps I'll start him with that. But no sense doing the other side's work for it. He might still repent.
Mephisto: In your closet.
Faustus: In my closet! What's she doing in there?
Mephisto: You told her to stay in it.
Faustus: I did? Oh, yes. Literal girl. Thank heaven for literal girls.
Mephisto: Heaven had nothing to do with it.
Faustus: Well, what am I supposed to do, swing both ways?
Mephisto: Shall I have her dress?
Faustus: It wouldn't fit you. Work on your thighs.
Mephisto (aside): When he tires, I'll strap him to a bed of razors.
Faustus (pacing): So she's in the closet, eh? And here I stand bantering with the help. Get her out here pronto. If she won't come, call for me, and I'll go in after her. If I don't come back, you can have my alembic.
Mephisto: This is no game, Faustus.
Faustus: It isn’t? I thought it was the alembic games.
Mephisto: Worry not about Helen, magister. If she disobeys you, I'll cull thee out the wildest Frauleins in the north of Europe.
Faustus: The cull of the wild, eh? Sounds like a bunch of dogs to me. And who's going to clean up after them, tell me that. If I gave you half a chance you'd wreck this happy home.
Mephsito (aside): An eon up to his chin in boiling manure. (to Faustus) Just now I don't feel lucky.
Faustus: So? Never mind that, pick a card.
Mephisto: What would you say?
Faustus: Is it true that you wash your hair in clam broth?
Mephisto (aside): A codpiece of
Never had no problems, never took on city hall
Then Lucifer sought out my help in his election bid
To revolutionize God’s government; don’t ask me how we did.
Then I was proud to be a demon, didn't care if I was damned
Frolicked in the brimstone pools, surfed the Styx's strand
A sophisticated soul from Dante's seventh circle down
Until the day I found myself working for this clown.
Now I'm Faustus's fool
There's not a thing I can do
My fate's intollerably cruel
Each day it hits me anew
(If I were alive I would kill myself.)
Smuggled off to Rome to swipe the Papal second course
Riding on a bale of hay changed into a horse
Lighting his cigars, cleaning up his mess
Playing tricks on ostlers, IQs forty-three or less
Scaring up a bowl of grapes on January first
Mixing up a stupid drink to quench a stupid thirst
Chasing down new girls for him to catechise unsightly
Doing stupid card tricks watching stupid card tricks nightly.
I'm only Faustus's tool
There's no one that I can sue
Stuck in this backwater school
Feeling so battered and blue.
(Please sir, may I have another Tylenol?)
There's no kind of man I haven't tempted in my days
I've hung with every ex-seraphim this side of Hades
Sent Alexander a mosquito, taught Cleopatra how to kiss
Told Lao Tsu to quit his job, and now I'm down to this.
They say the Lord of Heaven’s ways work quite mysteriously
Pal, I'm here to tell you what they say they say it justly.
Just one thought has kept me sane for twenty-seven years
That’s at the stroke midnight I'll be drying all my tears
For now I'm Faustus's fool
Trapped within his arena
Doing hops through his hoops
I ain’t seen nothing obscener.
(Bet your dog can’t dance like this.)
Clock: You think you've got it bad, let's switch jobs awhile, Sam
At least you get to walk around, I'm frozen on this stand
What's more I can't remember why he strapped me to this block
I must have pissed him off some way. Bong! It's five o’clock.
Mephisto: Five o’clock! That means he's only seven hours away
From a certain course of exercise I'm planning from this day
I'll whip him into shape, I'll take a pound of flesh or more
He'll be twice the man he is today and I’ll be half as sore.
No longer Faustus's fool
There'll be some things I can do
I'll be intollerably cruel
He’ll end up scholarly stew.
(Wizard guts?they’re not just for breakfast anymore!)
Helen (helping him up): It is I, Helen.
Wagner: Helen! Just who I've been looking for. I must see you.
Helen: And here I am without a candle.
Wagner: No one can hold a candle to you! I need you, Helen. You cannot know the torture I've been through imagining what Faustus has been doing with you.
Helen: Is that why you came into the closet?
Wagner: Faustus sent me on a fool's errand, but now that I'm with you I'll never play the fool again. He expects me to find an imp he lost. I snuck in to search his books for a spell to help me. I don't know why he can't do it himself.
Helen: He knows how to do it himself. But sometimes he'd rather not. Look at me.
Helen: You should never eat radishes.
Wagner: Who can he have out there with him?
Helen: Some visiting scholar, surely. I'm so glad you found me. I didn't even suspect you knew of my existence. I've been so bored, cooped up in here. It's worse than life with Menelaus ever was. And Sparta was heaven compared to this! I'm still a young woman. I want to sing, I want to dance, I want to enjoy every particle of life! Can you help me, dear student?
Helen: Don't worry. Troy wasn't ruined in a day. But now you must go.
Wagner: Go? But I just got here.
Helen: Nevertheless. If Faustus found you here his jealously would know no bounds. Come back later, fair student. Tonight! Faustus will be gone until midnight. Return at eleven, and I will show you arts of which I alone am mistress. Until then you must do his bidding.
Wagner: Eleven? How can I wait that long, thinking of you?
Helen: Troilus recommended strenuous exercise and cold baths. Until eleven, my love!
In the Boar's Bollocks Inn. Albergus sits at a table with Bateman plotting Faustus's destruction. A buxom barmaid serves their beers. Albergus is indifferent, but Bateman inspects her avidly.
Bateman: A guy could have a hot time with that book.
Albergus: It is all a matter of knowing the right words. Faustus's book must contain the language of UrCreation.
Bateman (watching waitress): Or even the language of procreation?
Albergus: You see, Bateman, most language is just empty words. You've sat outside on a splendid fall afternoon, and the sun warmed your limbs, the sweet breeze caressed your cheek, you lay back and watched the skies, the bullocks, the squirrels?
Bateman: ?the thighs, the buttocks, the girls?
Albergus: ?it's a total sensory experience?
Bateman: I'll say.
Albergus: ?and there is no way that ordinary language can capture even one thousanth of it.
Bateman: Preach it, brother!
Albergus: ?But that's ordinary language. What about extraordinary language? What about the language of God, Bateman? In what language did God originally say, "Let There Be Light!"
Albergus: He said it, Bateman, in that mystic, UrCreative language, the language of ultimate truth. The language that came before reality. If a man could grasp that grammar of creation, he could control all that exists! And that language, Bateman, I am convinced, is written in Faustus's book. Can you imagine it? Faustus has his hand upon the axis of the universe! Yet to what use does he put this power?
Bateman: Well he turned that guy into a clock. And there's those cigar things?
Albergus: Precisely. A total waste. The man has no more business owing that book than a rabbit.
Bateman: I don't think he owns a rabbit.
Albergus: That book belongs to he who can make use of it.
Bateman: Uh, speaking of grammar, I think that's supposed to be "to him," boss?
Albergus: To me, Bateman. And I
aim to get it. Think of the things I might accomplish?strictly for the
good of mankind, Bateman, the good of mankind!
I want power!
Enough power to allow
My unique knowhow to flower.
The world around is aching
For a wise hand to administer a braking
To this runaway cart
The ungovernable heart.
And I can do it.
Why cast my pearls before swine
Why waste my life drinking cheap wine
When I might have champagne
Which, given my intellect,
Is all I pursue, forsooth!
Not like Faustus, that uncouth pretender.
I must water the tender
Bud of my curiosity
So that my incipient virtuosity
Might grow into a prowess so vital
That it will delight all?
And a vision acute
I need knowledge
Not for my own agrandizement,
But for the advisement, see,
Of those rulers who so ignorantly
Mistake the proper course
Of action. I'll be the source
Of expedient counsel?
A man like me, responsible,
Will make them realize
That to do otherwise than I suggest
Would not be best
For the health of the common folk
Or their own.
Is what I suggest you initially explore.
I'll help you out, select moral subjects
For your experiments
In passion philters
And aphrodisiac science.
Don't risk your priceless mind:
I'll selflessly bind myself through rigorous paces
Endure numerous embraces
Test my tender body against feminine wiles
Quaff wild potions out of wilder vials
In Aphrodite's clinical trials.
This barmaid, here, for instance
Could no doubt benefit
From our ministrations
Don't you think?
Albergus: No greed
Of self-concern will tarnish my discerning need
To do what must be done
I'll take no bad advice
Or advice at all, indeed.
For it would not be nice
To be swayed
By the paltry parade
Of unenlightended folk who'll seek for my largess
My relief from their distress
The gratitude's store
Which I shall dispense
Albergus: Not since they fled your master's lecture.
Wagner: I've exhausted myself searching. I thought they were my friends, but it seems they are more interested in other matters now.
Albergus: A sad breach of faith. Is there anything a fellow scholar can do?
Wagner: Nothing. Unless you can retrieve the imp that Robin called up.
Albergus: I am not without some magical prowess. Perhaps I can locate it. Not only that, but if you'll tell me when Faustus is away, I can deposit the creature--caged--in his rooms. It would make a good joke, don't you think? Especially after the shameful way he treated you today.
Wagner: If you could do that, my gratitude would surpass Goneril's to her father!
Albergus: You have only to ask.
Wagner: Yes, good Frater, please. Faustus told me he would not be home until midnight tonight. If you can arrive before then--
Albergus: I shall be there at ten.
Wagner: Uh?better make it eleven. Eleven-thirty? I have affairs?uh?business. I will let you in.
Albergus: Leave it to me. I will be discreet.
Wagner: Thank you, thank you.
But wait! I must not be compromized by being associated with the disappearance of Faustus's magic book. (snaps fingers) Aha! A disguise! (writes a hurried note) Bateman, after you speak to the bishop I want you to fetch me the following items.
Barmaid: No, sir. In the summer, some guests use the rain barrel in the lower court. But of course it is frozen?
Wagner: Perfect. I want you to chop a hole in the ice for me. I need to keep cool.
Barmaid: You must be very hot.
Wagner (beginning to unlace his boots): You cannot imagine.
Barmaid: What clothing is that?
Wagner: You know Doctor Faustus? Well,
a certain young woman I know is expecting to see him tonight. Imagine her
surprise when she finds me in his place!
Upstage left, lights come up on alley behind Faustus's study. Dicolini and Robin wheel a wooden cart or barrow full of paraphrenalia up below Faustus's second-floor bedroom window. Dicolini throws a rope over a rafter protruding out below the eaves, then ties one end around his chest.
Dicolini: Okay, Robbie. You tug onna rope, and I'll get in through Fausuts's window. Keep a look out. If anybody comes, whistle.
Lights go down upstage, come up downstage to reveal the inside of Fausuts's apartment. Wagner enters through common room door, then hurries to the bedroom and the wardrobe. He opens the door and stands on the threshhold.
Wagner: What's wrong?
Helen: I thought you were Faustus. I forgot to tell you that I can't come out until he says I can. After all, I am his to command. Won't you come in?
Clock: ELEVEN FIFTEEN. I WONDER HOW THE METS ARE DOING?
Mephisto: You shall not sleep this night, Faustus.
Faustus: I certainly won't if you keep pestering me. Go away.
Faustus: Unless you're keeping an owl, Helen of Troy.
Faustus: Owl take your word for it. Does one of you birds want to hand me my nightshirt?
Helen: Not yet. I wouldn't mind some fresh air once in a while.
Faustus (sniffs): The air in there smells pretty fresh already. Or maybe it's my undershirt. (Hauls out tarot deck) Would you like to take a card?
Helen: No, thank you.
Helen: Did I?
Helen: I'm sorry, but I can't get into the mood lying on old shoes. Can't you find some way to let me out?
Wagner: Wait here. Faustus's magic book must be around somewhere. I'll find a spell of unbinding.
Lights go down upstage right, come up downstage on Faustus's apartment. Wagner has gone into Faustus's study. Albergus enters the common room, considers the study but goes into the bedroom. He rifles through the bedside table, the trunk at the end of the bed. It's full of clothes, including a nightshirt of two that he throws onto the bed. He tries the closet door. As soon as he opens it Helen throws her arms around him.
Albergus (stumbling back, hauling out a cross): Back, hell-fiend!
Helen: Please let me out of here.
Dicolini: Who are you?
Helen: Don't be silly. You know who I am.
Dicolini: Itsa slip my mind.
Helen (sarcastically): Well, I'm the most beautiful woman in history.
Dicolini: Never mind coming out. I come in.
Lights fade on the bedroom, come up on the study. Wagner is frantically seraching through the papers on Faustus's desk. He finds an impressive contract, Faustus's deal with the devil He tries to puzzle it out, reading aloud.
Clock: ELEVEN THIRTY. IT'S LATER THAN YOU THINK.
In the bedroom, Dicolini and Helen are doing a combination werstling match and waltz as he tries to maneuver her toward the bed. She begins to realize that this is not Faustus, and resists.
In the common room, Faustus is searching through shelves and cabinets looking for something. Finally he gives up.
Clock: What, am I the maid, too?
Helen: My lord, you know I don't understand Latin.
Dicolini: Atsa not Latin, atsa Italian.
Helen: I don't understand Italian, either.
Dicolini: Atsa okay. Neither do I.
Lights go down on exterior and up on interior. Robin rushes in through the common room door and races to the bedroom. Inside he skids to a stop when he sees Dicolini and Helen on the bed. Helen has the upper hand. She's got her foot on his neck and is about to bash him with the chamber pot. Dicolini sees Robin.
In the commons, Dicolini is heading toward the door when Mephistopheles materializes in light and smoke directly in front of him. They collide and sprawl across the dining table, scattering crockery and candlesticks.
Dicolini: I never touched her, boss. Shesa better man than I am.
Mephisto: You insist on playing the fool, even now?
Dicolini: No. Hesa still down inna alley.
Helen: I don't think that's Faustus.
Mephisto: Who is it, then?
Helen: I don't know, but I've seen a lot of him lately.
Mephisto: Don't tell me you've succumbed to Faustus. Are you doing his bidding?
Helen: You find him and I'll try.
Mephisto: Where is he?
Helen: Hang around a while. He'll turn up. Or else somebody just as good.
Mephisto: This Faustus is devilishly clever and these dopplegangers make my job harder. I don't want to get the wrong man.
Helen: In my experience, not many men aren't the wrong one.
Mephisto: 'Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven.' Ha!
Dicolini: Atsa crazy. Itsa no me. Itsa you.
Faustus: How do I know it's me?
Dicolini: I just told you. I'm not here.
Faustus: If you're me, how come you're not smoking a cigar?
Dicolini: You no give me one.
Dicolini: You got a match?
Faustus: Never mind.
Wagner rushes through the commons directly into the bedroom, He shoves the door open and, not seeing Helen, jumps into the closet, tearing off his clothes. He embraces Robin.
Clock: ELEVEN FORTY FIVE. LATE LATE LATE.
Mephistopheles, roused by the clock, makes a decision. He goes from the commons into the study. The instant he enters, Faustus and Dicolini speak as one.
Mephisto: Your doom is at hand.
Dicolini (taking one): So, what am I got?
Faustus: You’ve got one, I’ve still got seventy-seven.
Dicolini: You wrong. Itsa ace of wands.
Faustus: Wandaful. (gesturing to Mephistopheles) Does your wormy friend want to try his luck?
Dicolini: Hesa outside in the alley.
Clock: IT'S MIDNIGHT. BONG. BONG. BONG . . . (continues throughout following action.)
Mephisto: Enough! Which one of you is the real Faustus?
Mephisto: Good enough for me.
Clock: HAPPY NEW YEAR! CLEVELAND, HERE I COME!
Clock exits. In the bedroom, Wagner finds he is embracing empty air. He stumbles to the closet, but it is empty.
Wagner: Where is she?
Dicolini: She was one helluva wrestler, eh, partner?
Faustus: My boy, she was a scarlet woman and you're nothing but a green student. She would have made you blue someday.
Dicolini: If you didn't turn yellow first.
Faustus (offering a hot dog): Meanwhile, how about a little roast scholar?
Dicolini: Atsa no roast, atsa friar.
Lights come up on the Boar’s Bollocks, where Wagner, moping , is seated at a table telling his story to the barmaid. At the next table a man sits with his back to the audience.
Barmaid: I care.
Wagner: The story of mankind is a sad story. The saddest story I know.
Barmaid: Poor Wagner! Were you hurt?
Wagner: Emotional loss means nothing to the true intellectual.
Barmaid (touching his chest): Let me help you.
Wagner: The world is a cold place.
Barmaid: But you told me you were hot.
Wagner (standing, beginning to orate): And I’ve learned much from all this. The beginning of wisdom is mine. I’ve learned that despite the centuries that have passed since the beginning of time, despite the wars, heresies and degredations, the corruptions of institutions and loss of faith, the ages of bad behavior, one thing remains. People are, for better or worse, still human. That has not changed. Good and evil co-exist. Some souls are saved, others are lost. The apetites of the body and the mind conflict. Men aspire to the stars, women abandon them, scholars seek knowledge, students?
Bateman: Has anyone seen my master Albergus?
The man at the next table turns and hails him. It is the Clock.
All my power’s overthrown.
Wagner’s found a girl at last
History has swallowed past.
For me, I’m off to warmer climes
And giving up these wretched ryhmes.
Plagiarize I can no more
From better writers’ magic store
Of characters, ideas, words,
Comic mishaps tres absurd..
With brothers Marx’s sweet inventions
To tell of Faustus was our intention.
Now you must tell us if our play
Justified such rude display
A laugh’s the end we’re hoping for
Please don’t send us back for more.
But if our humor’s fit your plans
You may release us with your hands.