How Kit Harington's Interpretation of "Doctor Faustus" Became Its Saving Grace

How Kit Harington's Interpretation of "Doctor Faustus" Became Its Saving Grace

A review of the West End's modern production of Marlowe's 16th century play

One of my last weekends studying abroad was spent in London with four friends with whom I worked on a production of "The Mousetrap" in Rome. Some of us pretended the trip was actually to see London's sights, the rest of us fully aware that the climax would be seeing, "Phantom of the Opera" that Saturday night. Little did we know one of the most excited moments of our time in London would come the night before, when all of us managed to get tickets in the stalls for Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" at the Duke of York's Theatre, starring "Game of Thrones" star, Kit Harington.

Jamie Lloyd's production takes the 16th century knowledge-starved doctor looking to deal with the devil to win power and wisdom into the present day with a partially rewritten script and modern circumstances, making him into a student turned Vegas illusionist. Kit embraced this role completely. Before the show began, his Faustus appeared and settled onto the edge of his bed. For the next ten minutes, he sat motionless, watching the television as drool spilled from his mouth and songs from the past century about the devil and crossroads played over the theater speakers. The lights cracks and flickered out once the show began, and Kit introduced the audience to a character so emotional and messy and conflicted from his first line that it was impossible not to be entranced by the performance. The rest of the cast, especially those playing the demons that constantly surround Faustus, were just as inspired, and when combined with the moving set and elaborate effects, lighting and sound design, the production became a bloody and brightly colored spectacle.

As brilliant as it is to look at, the play does suffer from moments of poor writing, most of which may be attributed to the fact that the production's idea of making the play more modern relies on the conception that modern language is simpler. The first scenes are portrayed with the original 16th century dialogue, which was completely brilliant to watch. Once the language was changed, though, the play started to feel cliché and cheesy. It was a complete relief when the show finally returned to its source text in the final scenes, proving that the unease I had felt throughout hadn't been due to the blood and bile or the raunchy or offensive content, since all of that continued into the play's finale. The play's worst moments came completely out of the fact that the modern context couldn't just be left in the costuming and set. The production felt had to be taken into the script, making Faustus completely clumsily spoken and simple-minded even as he's meant to have just been given such immense knowledge. A lot of it was extremely clever, but there were far too many moments where the sloppy dialogue managed to throw you out of the story for a moment before trying to reel you back in with gore and curses.

Despite this weakness, there was hardly a moment that wasn't enjoyable to watch. Kit was able to take each line and layer it in emotion. The actors were completely dedicated to their characters, to the point that the supporting cast was just as enthralling as its main characters. My favorite moment was when one demon stepped forward and played all seven of the deadly sins possessing one body, a part traditionally played by separate actors. The entire production relied on its actors and spectacle (and the hope that Kit Harington might show the audience his butt again), but those elements made it so enjoyable to watch that the changed to the script hardly detracted from the experience. The five of us stood outside the stage door, thanking every actor that passed us, because every demon on the stage had been the only thing truly saving this oddly written production.

Cover Image Credit: China Daily

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"

I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.

We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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7 Of The Best "Bad B****es" To Rule The TV World

These girls ruled their shows with an iron fist and a snarky attitude.

Everyone has a favorite character on a TV show. Sometimes it's just the “attractive one” because you like looking at their face (or other things). Other times it is the person that has had the most character development.

My favorite character is what is known as the “bad b***h.” These people, usually girls but not limited to girls, kick ass and take names, and also look good while doing it.

1. Alison Dilaurentis (Pretty Little Liars)

She took no bull and gave looks that could melt ice. She would put her friends against each other, and she was not afraid to get her hands dirty. Let's not forget how she played dead for several seasons.

She seriously was vindictive and manipulative, but as you learn later in the series, she has a kinder heart than you originally believe.

2. Katherine Pierce (The Vampire Diaries)

She only cared about herself, and she was able to throw everyone under the bus to get what she wanted. She used her vampire powers for evil, always.

She tried to pin Elena and her friends against each other, and she actually ended up killing a decent amount of people, as well as starting a lot more drama than the Salvatores needed. In the end, however, she eventually learned that her life shouldn’t be worth more than others' lives.

3. Fiona Gallagher (Shameless)

This girl gets s**t done. She takes charge and takes care of her whole family while managing to keep them afloat by working several jobs. She also doesn’t hesitate to kick someone's ass when they deserve it.

4. Cat Grant (Supergirl)

She is very critical and very negative around Kara at the beginning of the series. She knows how the news industry works, and she was very comfortable with telling someone off for the right reason.

5. Chanel Oberlin (Scream Queens)

Very self-centered. Very moody. Very rich. Not afraid to let you know it.

6. Clarke Griffin (The 100)

Clarke did everything to save her people, but she also didn’t give a f**k about how she had to do it as long as her people survived. She would go to the ends of the Earth to save her friends or her family and kicked ass while doing it.

7. Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)

Even though AHS’s most recent season featured Paulsen in a “weaker role”, other seasons like Asylum and Hotel she featured her as a strong woman who fought for herself and who was easily able to steal the show.

Who is your favorite "bad b***h" in television today?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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