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username: FAUST

April 9-13, 2008

New College Theatre Studio, Harvard Square


About the Show

username: FAUST tells the story of an isolated woman's attempt to gain popularity by remaking herself as an Internet celebrity. When a demonic tech support team jeopardizes her password-protected existence, she must overcome digital distortions to regain control of her life. This adaptation of the Faust legend will thrill everyone from opera fans to YouTube junkies. The production integrates live theatre and music with video, and features a talented ensemble of performers with a variety of disabilities. The "usernameFAUST" YouTube channel complements the live performance.

Director's Statement

As my senior honors thesis for Harvard's Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, this project is extremely important to me on both a personal and artistic level. username: FAUST marks my first formal opportunity to combine my theatrical and cinematic passions, and I hope to challenge expectations about both art forms while still utilizing their respective strengths. This project represents the culmination of my artistic career at Harvard, and well over a year of planning, development, and production.

The concepts underlying this project draw upon many of my artistic and academic passions. I am fascinated by the emerging cultural phenomenon that is YouTube, which plays a central role in our story. Because of my longstanding love of music, I have incorporated elements of the operatic Faust tradition into the narrative. Likewise, I am strongly committed to making the arts accessible to all, and have therefore decided to collaborate with an ensemble of performers with disabilities, while also exploring disability issues thematically.

Not only does my retelling of the Faust story inspire the production's multimedia format, but it also unites its various component parts: just as our Faust finds herself caught between reality and virtual reality, so the production negotiates the parallel words of theatre and video, disability and "non-disability."

Throughout the artistic process, I have developed and refined my own method for creating original performance-based work. Building upon my initial concept, I assembled the ensemble and collaborated with them to develop their characters and our story. username: FAUST is the result of this process, a focused collaboration in which I was more conductor than director. What began as a series of improvised scenes evolved into the final script that will be presented live in April; however, I hope that our story will not culminate in its performance alone. By forging new connections between digital media and live performance, username: FAUST will reveal how a temporal event can exist well beyond its theatrical moment. Visit www.youtube.com/usernamefaust to learn more.

username: FAUST will be the inaugural production in Harvard's New College Theatre Studio. It runs from April 9-13, 2008.