Diego Sosa’s Faustaff or the mockery of the soul is a modern day re-working of the Faustian myth. Ignore the hybrid Faustus/Falstaff title; the play is bereft of any reference to Shakespeare’s disruptive anti-hero. This initial confusion sets the tone for this production which proves all together baffling and disappointing.
At the heart of the drama we find Gily Jacoby (Lesley Lightfoot), a writer who sells her soul to the devil in exchange for commercial and literary success. The by-product of her commercial success is that the fine line between her fiction and the fixtures of her reality become muddied and interwoven. The events in her novel are reflected in her personal life; friends die and others commit murders whilst she predictably spirals towards anxious insanity. The drama is a static and stale exploration of the cheapness of the modern soul when weighed against the perpetual desire for fame and success.
Lightfoot’s performance is admirable but she, like her supporting cast members, is restricted by a clunky script. Perhaps this is the result of problems in translating Sosa’s script. Unfortunately, the clichéd characterisation prevalent in all of Faustaff’s cast would suggest otherwise. Exchanges of dialogue generally seem forced and unnatural; we fail to connect with any characters in the production.
The Cockpit Theatre is an interesting space. Physically, the production excels as the events unfold in unwavering darkness. However, Sosa’s Faustaff feels like a wasted opportunity to explore the implications of twenty-first century fame and commercial success. Watered down through a series of clichés, one feels that Marlowe’s legendary Faustian myth could be put to far more effective use four-hundred years on.