In this adaptation of Faust, a grand coproduction between the Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana and the 63rd Ljubljana Festival, Tomaž Pandur, the internationally renowned in most successful Slovene theatre director, tockled, for the third time in his rich career, one of the greatest European myths: Goethe’s Faust. Unfortunatelly for the Slovenian European and global theatre audiences, this became the last performance of Tomaž Pandur’s staggering theatrical opus.
Although the story of Faust is based on the medieval legend of a man, who sold his soul to the devil, it actually represents the alienation of modern man and his need for understanding himself and the world in a broader context of the universe. Pandur has alchemically transformed the legend of Faust into an intellectual and emotional atmosphere of our own time and constructed his own poetry and truth along the way. Amidst the eternal battle against an all-encompassing evil, Faust points us toward infinite yearning for everything unreachable or unattainable: family, love, youth, beauty. Entering the field of magic, the landscapes of cosmic spheres, Faust is able to attain experience and completion, love and power, but the contract in blood with Mephistopheles – or himself – forces him back into solitude and the transience of life.
Tomaž Pandur understood Faust as a theatrical equation and the levels of Faust’s life and his confrontation with Mephistopheles as a poem on the phenomenology of the human species. A dream of the hieroglyph of absolute truth – which could make even infinity itself attainable. In September 2015 at the première of Faust in Ljubljana, Tomaž Pandur stated the following: “Goethe’s masterpiece Faust, the dramatic poem of the man, who signed a contract with the devil is also referred to as a ‘divine tragedy’, for it deals with the microcosm and macrocosm, with the public and private, with knowledge and discovery, with the unstoppable need and constant longing of the individual toward something bigger and better, while failing to consider the price of his passions. Throughout the centuries the story of Faust developed into an archetypal myth of human ambitions and dilemmas, which tries to entangle and understand the individual engaged in his constant battle between good and evil. In our adaptation and production of Faust, evil is plural; the devil is not alone, he comes with his entire family and assistants in order to more easily tempt and enact its famous dance of death. We follow a man set between heaven and earth, trying to find the truth and meaning of his existence. And this is precisely the purpose of theatre – to speak and ask questions about the most crucial affairs of human existence. Goethe ventured to state that the battle between good and evil propels humanity and gives it an unshakeable faith in its future”.
Adapted by Livija Pandur. Coproduction of the Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana and the 63rd Ljubljana Festival.
Photography: Aljoša Rebolj