Have you ever felt in over your head? Sold your kidney for an iPad? Made a deal you regret? Years ago, Michael Gow's opus Away became part of an educational pact with the board of studies — selected as an HSC example of clear structure and character development. Now Gow is directing a new arrangement of the classic deal-with-the-devil play Faustus for the Bell Shakespeare Company, starring John Bell as the devil himself.
There are lots of endings for Faustus. Some with damnation, some redemption. Faustus himself (Ben Winspear) — based on real life doctor (or quack) John Faustus — trades his afterlife and soul with a devil named Mephistopheles (John Bell) for 24 years of earthly knowledge and power. There is some Frankenstein here, with a fear of new kinds of learning, and of new kinds of sciences, as though these things touch the mind of God with the gloves off. Gow has adapted this version from Shakespeare's contemporary Kit Marlowe, but given that he's also worked in elements from Goethe's happier Urfaust, who's to say where this Faustus is going in the end.