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Plays

Doctor Faustus: Soul for Sale

Directed by Scott Sedar

Chorus: This is not a show about mighty battles. It’s not about heroes and warriors, or great lovers either. There’s no secret agents, no car crashes, no explosions, just one man—Faustus.

Was he right? Was he wrong? You be the judge. Here’s his story.

He was a man of the streets, but he had ambition. The first in his family to go to college, he studied hard, worked his way up till he had his degree.

But still, it wasn’t enough. He had to be the best, had to know what no other man knew—maybe no one was ever meant to know.

But let me quit talking before I tell the whole story. Here he is. He can speak for himself.


SCENE I.


FAUSTUS in his study, with a pile of books.


Faustus: Man, I don’t feel like studying, but there’s so much more I want to learn. Like Aristotle’s stuff—I live for it.

(reads from a book)

Sweet science, you’re hurting my head! But what’s the point? I can argue about philosophy all day long, but who cares? There must be something greater out there.

Like Dr. Phil…if I had my own show, I’d be rich and famous by now. And I’m not there, yet, not even close. Nobody knows my name. Does that sound cliché? Aren’t all the important people on FOX 5 News?

(reads from a book)

There are parts of the city without all this crime and violence. And people with HIV are staying healthy for years. But what have I ever done? I haven’t cured cancer; I’ve never stopped a war. I’m still just me, a regular man. If I could live forever, or bring the dead back to life, that would make people notice. That’s what I’m talking ‘bout. This job is stupid. I quit!

(reads from a book)

This is the life I was given. Like father, like son; you’re born in the gutter, you live in the streets, and you die in an anonymous alleyway. I’m nothing but a boring bookworm.

(reads from a book)

If you say you’ve never sinned, you’re a liar. We live, we sin, we die, that’s it. So much for immortality.

What I want is power. I want the world to hear me and I want them to pay attention. I want more money than Donald Trump, more fame than Oprah, and some nuclear weapons on the side. Truth be told, I want to be God!

Hey, Wagner!


Enter WAGNER.


Wagner, call my friends up on the phone and tell them to come over.

Wagner: Okay.

Faustus: All this work isn’t doing me any good. I need to talk to someone.


Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.


Good Angel: Man, Faustus, put the book down and nobody gets hurt! Don’t even look at that stuff, cause God is gonna strike you dead. You better pick up the Bible and get busy, cause that stuff is dangerous.

Evil Angel: Don’t listen to him. Keep doing what you’re doing. That’s where it’s all at. God’s up in the sky—it’s time for you to rule the earth.


Exit Angels.


Faustus: Yeah, I got plans. Big plans. I’ll train an army of flunkies to get me whatever I want. Gold, diamonds, a Rolex for every day of the week, and a chauffeured Escalade to haul it all around in. I’ll send them to the carry-out to get chicken wings and mambo sauce for breakfast, and I won’t have to order a pizza for lunch, it will just appear.

I’ll have bootleg DVD’s before the big movies even come out, and I’ll party with the stars on opening night.

I’ll make them fix up the public schools, so all the kids will love me, and I’ll give the students uniforms they can wear with pride: Seven jeans, Prada, and Gucci for the girls, Armani, Polo, and Coogi for the boys.

I’ll send my army around the world, and pay them with everything they can carry back. Who says you can’t have it all?

Yo Valdes, Cornelius! Come on, bless me with your wisdom. This time you’ve convinced me; I’m ready to give magic a try. Well, it wasn’t just you that convinced me—I convinced myself, too. I just can’t get this sorcery stuff out of my head.

Philosophy sucks. It’s for dummies. And theology’s even worse—gross, nasty, and totally disgusting. Help me out here, and we can talk everyone into joining our team, even my pastor! We’ll be bigger than Obama!

Valdes: Faustus, with your books, your brains, and our experience, we’ll make the whole world love us. Like children obey their parents, everyone on earth will do what we say. They’ll guard us like pit bulls, the hottest women will throw themselves at us, and we’ll have a safe stuffed with money.

Faustus: If you want to stay alive, don’t play with me, Valdes. I’m for real about this.

Cornelius: When you see what black magic will do, you’ll never pick up another book again. You’ve got all the knowledge you need already.

It’s your time to shine, Faustus. You won’t just have a T.V. show, you’ll have your own channel. All Faustus, 24-7, and you’ll have more viewers every night than the Superbowl.

The spirits say they can dig up all the buried treasure in the world for us, and all the money people lost in the stock market will be ours. It’s you, me, and Valdes forever.

Faustus: I’m ready to roll, Cornelius! Tell me what I’ve got to do, and I’ll do it.

Valdes: We’ll need to hurry and find a quiet place to hide. Bring your philosophy books and your science homework and some prayer books and the bible, and whatever else you need. We’ll let you know when it’s time.

Cornelius: Wait—tell him what he’s supposed to say, and when he learns how to do it he can solo.

Valdes: All right, I’ll show you the basics and you’ll be better than me.

Faustus: Great. Let’s eat. Then we can go over the details. I’ma work this magic before the night is over, or die trying.

SCENE II.

Enter two Scholars.

First Scholar: Faustus, what’s up with you Son?

Second Scholar: We’ll know in a minute. Here comes his boy.

Enter WAGNER.


First Scholar: What up, Wagner. Where’s your man Faustus?

Wagner: Only god knows.

Second Scholar: Wait, don’t you know?

Wagner: Yeah, I know. It’s none of your business.

First Scholar: So it’s like that, huh?

Wagner: Chill, son. There’s no need to fight. Just admit you’re wrong and pay attention.

Second Scholar: Why didn’t you tell me you knew?

Wagner: You got any witnesses?

First Scholar: Yeah, son. I heard you.

Wagner: Ask my friends—am I a thief?

Second Scholar: Well, you won’t tell us.

Wagner: Yeah, aiight. But you don’t have to be so stupid about it. He’s a human being, right? And people change, don’t they? But that’s all right, it’s all good. I ain’t mad at you. Even though you’ll probably get shot in a day or two, and afterwards I would dance over your bodies. Then I’ll tell you this: For real, my brother, Faustus is at my banging dinner with Valdes and Cornelius, popping champagne. God bless you now, my friend, my brother.

First Scholar: Naw, I don’t believe it. Those two are trouble for real, bad as Voldemort with their dark arts.

Second Scholar: He’s a stranger. He ain’t no friend to me now. But I feel sorry for him. We ought to tell the preacher, so maybe he can talk some sense into him.

First Scholar: That probably won’t do him no good. I’m scared, for real.

Second Scholar: Well, let’s see what we can do anyhow.

SCENE III.


Enter FAUSTUS, casting a spell.


Faustus: Now the yellow sun is gone from the sky and the Anacostia River is filled with dirty brown water and dead fish, cold frost bite…The darkness comes over me. Puppy dogg pound, purple rain, angels of midnight, grace me with a smile. Evil spirits, speak to me in a mellow, harsh voice.


Enter MEPHISTOPHILIS.


You’re too ugly to look at me, so change yourself into something I can stand to see. Find yourself some decent clothes, for one thing.


Exit MEPHISTOPHILIS.


Hey, I’m pretty good at this. I’ve got Mephistophilis right where I want him.


Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS dressed like a rapper.


Mephist.: Okay, Faustus. You tha man. What do you want me to do?

Faustus: You gotta do whatever I say. If I want Beyoncé standing here in front of me, you have to take care of it.

Mephist: Look, Lucifer’s my boss. I do what he says and that’s it. No more orders from you unless he says so.

Faustus: Didn’t he tell you to come here just now?

Mephist: Nope. I came here on my own.

Faustus: Didn’t you hear my spells, and that’s why you’re here? Tell me!

Mephist: I heard you, but I came here by accident. When I heard you cursing god, I got all excited, thinking I could come and snatch your soul. You took the best shortcut there is for getting in touch with the dark side.

Faustus: So I’m finished now. I won. Faustus holds the title.

Here’s what I think:

There ain’t no god but the devil.
I ain’t afraid to be “damned”
That doesn’t scare me.
But who is this Lucifer that you worship?

Mephist: He the dog down there. Whatever he says goes.

Faustus: Hold up. Didn’t Lucifer used to be an angel before?

Mephist: Yeah. He was God’s favorite. Teacher’s pet.

Faustus: Ummm, then how did he become the King of Hell?

Mephist: He got all big-headed and smart-mouthed God, so God kicked him out.

Faustus: So what are you to Lucifer?

Mephist: We chose to follow Lucifer, so God kicked us out. Now we’re stuck with him.

Faustus: Where did you get banned to?

Mephist: Where you think?

Faustus: But if you were sent to Hell, then what are you doing up here?

Mephist: No matter where I am, I’m in Hell. A living Hell. Everything is super-bad for me now that I had a taste of the good life in heaven, cause I know I can never go back. Don’t do it! You’ll regret it!

Faustus: Why are you so worked up about losing a shot at heaven? I, for one, wouldn’t care if I went back or not. I can take it.

You go tell Lucifer I can take whatever he has planned for me. I got a deal for him. He can have my soul, but he has to give me twenty four years of everything I want. I get to be Mr. Big Shot, I get whatever I want, no matter what it costs. Money. Power. Women. Pancakes for dinner. Anything. I don’t have to listen to no stupidhead. He pretty much has to do whatever I please; he’s pretty much my slave.

Go tell Lucifer what I said, then meet me at midnight tonight and tell me what he thinks.

Mephist: O.K. Whatever. Be back later.

Faustus: If only I had more souls. I’d give them all up to be king of the world and do whatever I want with it. I’d move the continents around like puzzle pieces. I’m going to think about this stuff till Mephistophilis comes back.


SCENE IV.


Enter WAGNER and CLOWN.


Wagner: Hey you, Clown, come here.

Clown: Hey. Have you ever seen so many boys with freaky hair? Bikers, drunks on the streets, bearded thugs…Whoo!

Wagner: Has anybody come in here?

Clown: Yeah. Some people left, too.

Wagner: Yeah. Look how raggedy and hungry people are. They’d give their soul to the devil for a hamburger, even if it was covered in mud.

Clown: I’d sell my soul, but not for that; maybe if it were a juicy, flame-broiled burger with lettuce and cheese and tomatoes and a side of fries. And also a two-liter soda. Sprite.

Wagner: If you serve me, I’ll make you one of my own. You’d be my apprentice.

Clown: You gonna pay me with words?

Wagner: How about a fresh shirt and some lotion to get rid of your head lice?

Clown: Ocean? You can’t give me the ocean.

Wagner: Dummy! I said lotion.

Clown: So why would I help you if you can’t put your own plan in motion?

Wagner: Quit joking. You better help me out or I’ll turn those lice into your best friends and they’ll tear you up.

Clown: Do you hear yourself? You can keep your promises. I’ve heard them all. I’m as used to hearing lies as a dog is to fleas.

Wagner: Do you know what you’re turning down? Hold on, man. Here, take this cash.

Clown: I don’t want your trash.

Wagner: It’s money.

Clown: What do you want me to do with it?

Wagner: Keep it, and in an hour the devil will come and get you.

Clown: Naw, you can keep your trash.

Wagner: No take backs. I don’t need it.

Clown: But you will one day.

Wagner: Look! I’m giving him the money.

Clown: Look now! I’m giving it back.

Wagner: Well, I’ll get my two devils, Boogyman and Belcher, to come get you anyway.

Clown: Bring ‘em on. And when they get here, I’ll knock ‘em both out and—Suppose I kill one of them? People will be calling me devil-killer everywhere. I’ll be famous.

Enter two DEVILS: the Clown runs around screaming.

Wagner: Boogyman and Belcher, you can go now.

Clown: Are they gone? I’ll get revenge on those two ugly suckers. It was a boy-devil and a girl-devil, too. You can tell because the boy had horns and the girl had little goat feet.

Wagner: Okay, now come with me.

Clown: If I come with you, will you teach me how to conjure up Booger Breath and Bulgey?

Wagner: I can teach you to change yourself into any animal you want—dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, whatever.

Clown: Nuh-uh! Turn myself into a dog? No sir. I’m a good churchgoing man. I don’t want to be anybody’s pet. If you turn me into anything, let it be a flea so I can sneak around without people seeing me and I can tickle pretty women and not get caught.

Wagner: So come on.

Clown: Do you hear what you’re saying?

Wagner: Hey, Boogyman, Belcher!

Clown: Oh no. Please, leave Billygoat and Butchie alone, Wagner.

Wagner: That’s Mister Wagner to you, punk. And from now on make sure your left eye is focused on my right foot at all times.

Clown: God help me! I’ll go with him and do what he says and that’s that.


SCENE V.


FAUSTUS is in his study.


Faustus: Hey Faustus, you can’t be cursed and you can’t be saved, either. What good is it to think of God or heaven? Better get those fancy ideas out of your head. You’re on the devil’s side now, and there’s no turning back.

Why are you worrying? Are you having second thoughts?

What’s that I hear? “Give it up, Faustus. There’s still time to get out of this mess. Just ask forgiveness.”

No, God doesn’t want me. I’m in this for myself and I want to have it all. I’m down with the devil for life, and I’ll snatch little babies out of their cribs if that’s what he likes.


Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.


Good Angel: Faustus, leave that mess alone.

Faustus: You want me to pray? You want me to be sorry? What’s up with that?

Good Angel: Just do it. You can still get into heaven.

Evil Angel: Don’t be stupid. He’s lying, trying to pull your shirt over your eyes.

Good Angel: Yo, Faustus. Just think heavenly thoughts and good things.

Evil Angel: Man, think of money and power.


Exit Angels.


Faustus: Money! Power! That’s it, I’ve made up my mind. Mephistophilis, I’m all yours!


Enter MEPHISTOPHILIS.


So, what does Lucifer have to say, Boss?

Mephist.: He says to give you want you want as long as you live, then you’re his for the rest of the time.

Faustus: Didn’t we already talk about this?

Mephist: You’ve got to swear to it. Write it down in blood. Lucifer needs a written contract, or I’m outta here. And while you’re at it, you ought to write a will.

Faustus: The thing is, I’m kind of slow. What does Lucifer want with my soul?

Mephist: The more the merrier, or something like that…

Faustus: Is that why he tempts us like this?

Mephist: Well, you’ve heard misery loves company. What’s it gonna be now, Faustus? Do I get your soul or not?

Faustus: Yeah, you got it.

Mephist: Then sign your name in blood. That makes it a done deal. You’re gonna be big as Lucifer himself some day.

Faustus: (Stabbing his arm) Here goes. You’ve got my blood now, Lucifer. Move over Voldemort, step aside Darth Vader, Faustus is here to stay.

Mephist: But Faustus, you’ve got to spell it out. Start writing.

Faustus: That’s what I’m trying to do. But my blood clots up pretty quick. I can’t write no more.

Mephist: All right, I’ll get some fire to melt it down for you.


(Exit)

Faustus: Why did my arm scab up? My blood doesn’t even want to do this. Wait, I got it. (writes) “I.O.U. one soul. Faustus.” There. What’s the big deal about that? It’s my soul, isn’t it?


Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS with fire.


Mephist: Okay, let’s get things moving here. Come on, Faustus.

Faustus: Never mind. I got it.

Mephist: (Aside) Man, I’ll do just about anything for one lousy soul.

Faustus: It’s all over now. My soul belongs to Lucifer. But wait…what’s this writing on my arm? I don’t remember getting a tattoo. It says “Run away.”

Huh. Where can I run to? I got no place left to go. I’m pretty sure God won’t want me in heaven now.

Maybe I read it wrong; I better look again. No, that’s what it says, plain as day. “Run away.” Well, I got news for this tattoo: Faustus ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Mephist: I’ll go get a little something to take his mind off his troubles.


(Exit.)

(Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS with Devils, who have fancy clothes for FAUSTUS. They dance around, then leave.)

Faustus: What was that all about?

Mephist: Nothing. I just wanted to show you what a little magic can do.

Faustus: When do we get to the good stuff? I want to raise up dead people.

Mephist: We’ll get to that, and bigger things too.

Faustus: All right, that’s good enough for me. Here’s my signed papers. Just remember, you have to hold up your end of the deal.

Mephist: Don’t you worry, Faustus. I swear by Lucifer.

Faustus: See? They always bringing the black man down.

But here’s our deal: First, I can stay black, till the day I die. Secondly, us black people need some space, so you’ve got to give it to me. You’ve got to do whatever I say, and bring me whatever I want. But you have to stay out of sight unless I call you. And I want to own Six Flags—I want to own Wall Street. And you gotta answer all my questions. Signed, Faustus.

Mephist: Is that it?

Faustus: That’s it.

Mephist: So, in the black man’s terms, tell me what you want to know.

Faustus: First, I want to know what’s it like where I’m going after I die.

Mephist: The cemetery? It’s got a nice green lawn, bunch of stones, with a fence around it.

Faustus: No, after that. The H-word. Where is it?

Mephist: It’s wherever we are, with whatever hurts us the most, and it’s where we’ll always be. When the world comes to an end, basically everything that’s not Heaven…is the other place.

Faustus: I think you dreaming stories.

Mephist: Fine. You’ll see when you get there.

Faustus: How are you so sure I’m going there?

Mephist: Man, I’ve got the paper you just signed.

Faustus: Sorry. It’s just hard for me to picture it. I don’t believe in that stuff.

Mephist: Well, I’m living proof, cause I’m in hell right now.

Faustus: In that case, no problem. You’re walking around, having a good time, arguing with me. I’d go there on vacation. But never mind that. I’m hungry. Go get me something to eat. No carry out, no Pizza Hut—get that Taco Bell. The whole menu. And some fries.

Mephist: Wait right there. I’ll get you a fine meal from the Devil’s own restaurant.


(Exit)

(Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS with a Devil carrying a torn Taco Bell menu and an empty McDonald’s box.)

Mephist: Faustus, you like the food? Is it hot?

Faustus: Ahhh. That’s no food. Get out of my face with that. You a disgrace to black folks.

Mephist: Don’t worry about food, Faustus. You’ll be getting all the food you need: carry out, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, fried chicken, fries from McDonalds—just blink and it’ll be, like BOOM! in your face.

(Gives him a book.)

Take this book. And read it, don’t just look at the pictures. It’s got all you need to know to get what you want. All you have to do is say the words, make the motions, and whatever you’re asking for will just pop up right in front of your face.

Faustus: Thanks, but I also want a book about how to bring the dead back to life.

Mephist: You got it. Right here. (turns to them in book)

Faustus: And I basically want to know everything there is to know. And stuff no one else knows, like, I want to know what’s going to happen in the future. And I want to know how to cure every disease.

Mephist: Fine, fine. Look right here. (turns to them in book)

Faustus: And I want the cheat codes for every game.

Mephist: Here you go.

Faustus: Thanks. Now I got you beat.

Mephist: We’ll see.


SCENE VI.


Enter FAUSTUS and MEPHISTOPHILIS.


Faustus: When my days are done and my life has flashed before my eyes, I’ll awake at the gates of heaven already knowing that it won’t be my home. God’s gonna have some real nice words for me, I bet. Then will I be sure that I’ve really bit the big one. And this time there’s no turning back.

Mephist: You really think it’s all sweet up there, huh? Man, heaven ain’t ‘bout nothing. Just more rules to follow, cause you’re closer to God. If you ask me, I’d rather just live it up while I’m here. Any man would!

Faustus: I thought you might say something like that. That’s why you’re the last person I would ask.

Mephist: Heaven is for those who lived boring lives. That’s about it.

Faustus: I’m having second thoughts right about now. Maybe I should give in and beg for forgiveness.


Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel


Good Angel: Faustus, God is all about forgiveness. It’s not too late. Repent!

Evil Angel: Um, it actually is far too late. You’re as good as dead now. In other words, you’re screwed.

Faustus: What’s that? Hold up! Did I just hear someone’s cell phone ring? I know you didn’t just call me a dead man. God will still forgive me if I apologize.

Evil Angel: Ha. Ha. Like that’ll ever happen.


(exit Angels)


Faustus: I’m heartless at this point. Too heartless to repent. Here I am again willing to give anything to go back in time. Like when my teacher called my mother in 3rd grade, I knew what awaited me when I got home.

I thought that was the most horrible punishment ever. Huh. That was child’s play. A beating is painful, but you live afterwards. There is still life. So how should I feel to be destined for pain after death? I should just kill myself now and end this fiasco.

But what’s the point? Why not put it off as long as I can? Bump that! I’m ‘bout a wild out and leave the repenting to the nuns.

So tell me, Mephistophilis…did O.J. do it?

Mephist: My good man, now that is one enigma of our time that I can’t reveal to you. It would upset the balance of the universe. Try me again, though.

Faustus: Did Chris Brown really smash Rihanna’s head through his Lamborghini:

Mephist: You don’t need to know that.

Faustus: Oh, really. Don’t mind me, Mephistophilis, but I’m honestly starting to doubt your ability to even answer a few questions. Tell me what I want to know. If you can, that is.

Mephist: Don’t doubt my abilities, or what I know. I know more about you than you know.

Faustus: Bologna!

Mephist: Try me, then.

Faustus: O.K. What is my biggest fear?

Mephist: I was expecting more of a challenge. But if you want to make things easy on me, then fine. Your biggest fear is of clowns with Mohawks.

Faustus: I’ve never told that to anyone.

Mephist: So you finally see that I’m no joke.


(exit MEPHISTOPHILIS)


Faustus: Yeah, that’s right. Get out of here. You’re the one who got me into this mess. Is it really too late?


(Re-enter Good Angel and Evil Angel)


Evil Angel: Definitely too late. Time’s up.

Good Angel: It’s never too late, if you’re really sorry.

Evil Angel: You brought the Devil in this now. Don’t think he’ll let you out of the deal.

Good Angel: Just repent, please, and the Devil won’t be able to lay a hand on you.

Faustus: Yeah, that’s it. I can still be saved. Umm…Help?


(Enter LUCIFER, BELZEBUB, and MEPHISTOPHILIS)


Lucifer: Forget it Faustus. I’m the only one who cares about you now.

Faustus: Who are you? And why are you so seriously ugly?

Lucifer: You know me. I’m Lucifer. And you’ll get used to the way I look.

Faustus: Wait a second. It’s not time yet.

Lucifer: Don’t worry. We haven’t come to take you away. We’re just sick of all this back and forth. “Should I repent? Will God forgive me?” Don’t worry about that stuff. Just think of me. And my crew here too.

Faustus: Yeah, you’re right. I’m through with all that, and I’m through with religion. I might just burn down a church or something.

Lucifer: If you do, we’d really appreciate it. Faustus, we’re here to put on a show for you. Sit down and relax, and you’ll get to see all the Seven Deadly Sins right here before your eyes.

Faustus: That sounds just like heaven to me.

Lucifer: What? I thought you were gonna quit talking about that nonsense. Remember this: You need to talk about me. Not heaven. The Devil. Nice name, right?

Come on in!


(Enter the Seven Deadly Sins)


Now, Faustus, pay close attention. You need to learn their names and what they’re all about.

Faustus: O.K., O.K. Who’s the first?

Pride: I am Pride. I look down on my parents. I’m like a flea, pinching everyone in my way. It’s kinda like a contagious self-confidence. (Laughs) I hide in make-up kits. Most likely, I’m the reflection in your mirror. OOOOHHH, what’s that I smell? I won’t speak another word until you worship the ground I walk on. Roll out my red carpet! (snaps)

Faustus: Yeah, sure. Who’s the second?

Covetousness: I am covetousness. My grandmother was an evil old witch. I basically grew up in a sewer. If I could have anything, I would want this house and everyone in it turned to gold. And then I’d keep it all to myself. Sweet, sweet gold.

Faustus: Oookay…now, who’s the third?

Wrath: I am Wrath. I didn’t have any parents. I was raised by pit bulls since I was a baby, and ever since then I’ve been running the streets. When I don’t have anyone to fight with, I fight myself. I guess you could say I was born and raised in Hell. But don’t act like you’re better than me, cause some of you may end up being my father.

Faustus: And who is the fourth?

Envy: I am Envy. My dad was a garbage men and my mother was a substitute teacher. I wish all books were burned, because I can’t read. I’m the skinny one with all the fat people eating all around me. I wish the whole world would starve to death, so they could all die and leave me alone. Then you would see how fat I’d be. But why do you get to sit while I stand? Get down on the floor, fool!

Faustus: Get out of here, you jealous loser. Who’s number five?

Gluttony: Who am I? I am Gluttony. My parents are dead and they didn’t leave me with a dime. I barely have enough to buy ten square meals a day and a drink or two. Or twenty. My grandfather was a triple-deluxe ice cream sundae from Baskin Robbins. My grandmother was a supersized bottle of Remy. And my godparents were both chosen to have it my way from Burger King. But my godmother was the best—everyone loved her everywhere she went. Her name was Budweiser. Now Faustus, you’ve heard what I have to say. Now why don’t you go fix me some dinner?

Faustus: Not in this lifetime. You’ll eat up my whole house.

Gluttony: I hope you choke on a chicken bone.

Faustus: Whatever. Who’s the sixth?

Lechery: I am Sloth. I was born on an island, and I’ve been lying there ever since. As a matter of fact, this is a major inconvenience coming all the way over here. Who’s gonna give me a ride home? Hmmph. I don’t feel like talking any more.

Faustus: Hey, promiscuous boy—who are you? The seventh and last?

Lechery: Who am I? I’m the one who loves a Playboy magazine better than a bucket of Popeye’s. Oh, and my name begins with an L.

Lucifer: Get out of here, Lechery! Now, Faustus, how do you like what you saw?


(exit the Sins)

Faustus: Oh. I’m just soaking it all in. I’m loving all of this.

Lucifer: Hey, I told you it would be great.

Faustus: Yeah, I see. But I would be happier if I could go see what Hell is like and then come back again.

Lucifer: Well, I’ll send for you at midnight. In the meantime, take this book and read through it carefully. Then you can be whatever you want to be.

Faustus: Thanks, Lucifer. I’ll guard this with my life.

Lucifer: Goodbye, Faustus. Don’t forget about me.

Faustus: See ya later, Lucifer.


(exit LUCIFER and BELZEBUB.)

Let’s go, Mephistophilis.


CHORUS


(enter CHORUS)


Chorus: What a smart man Faustus is. He’s got the highest test scores in the school. He learned all his lessons and he’s gone on from there, so far he hit the very top. And now he wants to go higher. Next thing you know, he’ll be down at the District Building giving advice to Adrian Fenty and living large off the city’s budget.


SCENE VII.


Enter FAUSTUS and MEPHISTOPHILIS.


Faustus: Well, Mephistophilis, I’ve just about seen it all now. I’ve been to Paris and London, New York and L.A. My bodyguards beat up the paparazzi so I could get some peace while I was partying with Jay-Zee and Beyoncé. They’re really nice people once you get to know them. The champagne and caviar were delicious, and the cruise ship was the bomb. I’ve seen the Pyramids in Egypt, penguins in Antarctica, and the Grand Canyon back home. So where are you taking me now, to Gallery Place?

Mephistophilis: Even better. I got you a private meeting with Adrian Fenty, so you can talk business.

Faustus: I hope he’s cool.

Mephistophilis: It doesn’t matter. When you talk, he’ll listen.

And now, just so you know, Faustus—D.C. is on the map, sitting on top of the Anacostia River. You got trees everywhere, libraries, monuments, and every day you see black people and the Big Chair down on M.L.K.

Faustus: But there’s more that I want to see. Take me to the club and the after-party, and when the night is over, let’s go to IHOP and have pancakes and syrup. Later, we can go to the F.B.I. and see what kind

Mephist: Nah, fam—stay here. I got it all set up with Fenty. You got time for him, don’t you? The whole city council is over there, and they’re about to serve lunch.

Faustus: I want to have some fun with them. Give me a hoodie that covers everything but my eyes—make me invisible.

Mephist: Aiight—do what you want to do. There are no consequences.

(music plays, enter ADRIAN FENTY and other V.I.P.’s)

Fenty: Hey, it’s the boss of the schools, Michelle Rhee. Come here, girl.

Faustus: Drop dead. I hope you get the stomach flu.

Fenty: What? Who said that? Who’s there?

First Aide: I don’t see anyone. There’s nobody there.

Fenty: Ummmmm, check out the Big Mac sent to me from the McDonald’s on Alabama Ave.

Faustus: Thanks. This is mine. (snatches the dish)

Fenty: Who took my Big Mac? I’m hungry, too. Oh well, that pepperoni pizza looks good.

Faustus: If you say so. I’ll take that, too. (snatches the dish)

Fenty: Not again. Oh well, let’s have a toast. To your health!

Faustus: Thank you, sir. (snatches the cup)

Michelle Rhee: It’s probably some really little kid trying to steal enough for bus fare.

Fenty: Maybe. (looks around) Someone call security.

Faustus: Don’t even start with that. If you can’t find me, they can’t either. I’m warning you.

(Faustus smacks him on the chin, and they all run away)

Come on, Mephistophilis, what should we do?

Mephist: We’re not gonna back down. What’s this to us? Square up.

Faustus: How we gonna do this? What if he glass us both? Are you like Iron Man? You gonna fly?

Fenty: Let’s go, fellahs.

(they sing)

Cursed be he who stole the Big Mac
Cursed be the hook to the Mayor’s chin
Cursed be he who ate the Big Mac
And glassed the Mayor, too.

(MEPHISTOPHILIS and FAUSTUS beat the Mayor and his staff)


CHORUS

(enter CHORUS)

Chorus: After Faustus had seen the world—the monuments, the malls, and the finest clubs
He kept on going, till he got back home, where all of his friends had missed him
They were glad he got home safely and asked him all about his trips
Faustus knew everything and became rich and famous
And now he’s at a cookout with the President,
But that’s all I’m gonna say.

(exit)

SCENE VIII


(Enter ROBIN the hustler, with a book in his hand)


Robin: That’s what’s up. I found Faustus’ magic book. Now I can get all the single ladies to do whatever I please.

(Enter RALPH, calling ROBIN)

Ralph: This is a carwash, not a bookstore, Robin. Get your head in the game and clean this man’s Corvette.

Robin: Leave me alone, before I pull you eyes out of your mouth.

Ralph: You can’t figure that book out. You can’t even read.

Robin: You ask my boss and his girl if I can read. He’s about to be my servant, and she’s gonna be my wifey.

Ralph: What kind of book did you get hold of?

Robin: This is the best supernatural power blade book ever written. Straight from the devil.

Ralph: What can you do with it?

Robin: I can turn you into a frog, and I can make every day Christmas.

Ralph: That’s nothing.

Robin: True that, but I can get your ex to take you back again, no matter what you did.

Ralph: Now, you’re talking. Do that, and I’m on your team for life.

Robin: That’s enough. Let’s get cleaned up and change our clothes, so we can go out.


SCENE IX

(Enter ROBIN and RALPH. They grab a 2-liter bottle of RC off the shelf)


Robin: Aiight, Ralph—see these Harleys? I’ll make it so they never need gas again.

Ralph: But Robin, here comes the man from the corner store.

Robin: Hush. Watch us get this 2-liter for free.

(Robin and Ralph walk towards door)

Corner Store Man: Hey, can I have a word with you? You two need to pay for that R.C.

Robin: We put it back!

Corner Store Man: If you don’t have it, I’ma check him. Hey, you there.

Ralph: Search all you want. You ain’t gonna find nothing.

(Corner Store Man searches him and finds nothing.)

See, now you should be ashamed for accusing me like that.

Corner Store Man: One of you gotta have it.

Robin: I don’t have it. You lie, I’ll glass you for an R.C. Look at the R.C., Ralph.

(whispers to Ralph)

Corner Store Man: What? I don’t get what you talking ‘bout.

Robin: I’ll tell you what I mean. (reads from book)

Gary be immobiliter abbra cadabra doo doo.

Look at the R.C., Ralph.

(enter MEPHISTOPHILIS who throws needles at them and disappears)

Corner Store Man: What’s going on? Robin, you don’t have the R.C..

Ralph: Here you go. (hands him the bottle) I’m outta here.

Robin: Oh no. I never should have touched that book. Forgive me, devil. I won’t do it again.

(re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS)

Mephist: You trifling little fool! Who do you think you are? You made me come all the way out here for a bottle of soda? I’ll crush you and burn your bones in my ashtray. I dare you to use my spell book again.

Robin: Look, I’ll pay your bus fare for you. Want a dollar?

Mephist: I don’t want your dollar. Mephistophilis doesn’t ride the bus. But, since you jumped out there, I’ll turn you into a dog and your friend to a cat.

Robin: Looks like I better learn to like dog food.

Ralph: And I’ll finish out my life as a Siamese.


SCENE X

(Enter PRESIDENT OBAMA, FAUSTUS, and a spokesperson, with aides)


President: Hey, Doc. I’ve been hearing rumors about you knowing a lot of dangerous things. They say no one can top you now, because you have contacts in the Underworld. So what I want is to see some proof. I promise that you won’t get in any trouble.

Spokesperson: Right. He looks just like a magician. (aside)

Faustus: Mr. President, sir, I’m not as good as everyone says. But, since I respect you and you are the one in charge, I’ll do whatever you ask.

President: Well, Faustus, I’ve been stuck at home a lot lately, and I’ve been thinking a lot about my family and all the people who came before me. You know, there are people who have holidays to celebrate their lives—founding fathers and such, like Washington and Lincoln—and kids get a day off from school just to remember them and everything they did for our country.

And then there’s Martin Luther King. Everybody knows all about the brave and heroic things he did. It’s really hard on me that I never got to meet him and speak to him in person. How can I even begin to think about leading our country out of the wilderness when I never got a chance to talk to the greatest leaders in history? What I want you to do is bring Dr. King back from the grave, just for a day or two, so I can talk to him about what’s going on.

Faustus: I’m definitely going to give it my best shot, President Obama. I’ll see what I can do to help you out.

Spokesperson: Man, you can’t do nothing.

Faustus: It’s just that I’m not sure I can actually raise a man up from the dead just like that. I mean flesh and bone right here in front of you—I’ve never tried that.

Spokesperson: Yeah, that’s a good sign, when you stop lying and tell the truth for a change.

Faustus: Well, for instance, you know the man got shot. It’s kind of disrespectful to bring him back exactly like that. I can bring back his spirit, just like he was when he was in his prime, but that might not be good enough for you.

President: Go for it. Let’s see what you can do.

Spokesperson: Did you hear him Mr. Big Shot? Get on with it.

Faustus: What.

Spokesperson: See you don’t have no superpowers. Why don’t you try and turn me into a goat?

Faustus: I might. Mephistophilis, get out of here!

(exit MEPHISTOPHILIS)

Spokesperson: Okay. While you make a fool out of yourself I’ma go play my game.

Faustus: I’ll see you when I’m done here. Sorry, Mr. President. Here you go.

(Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS with a Spirit in the shape of Martin Luther King)

President: Oh man. How do I know it’s really him?

Faustus: Ask him yourself when you’ve got some privacy. (exit Spirit)

By the way, can you tell your assistant to come back here? The one who was so nice to me a minute ago?

President: Hey! Come here!

(Re-enter the Spokesperson, with a pair of horns on his head)

What’s up with you? I knew you smelled like a goat, but now you look like one, too.

Spokesperson: (to FAUSTUS) You worthless mutt from the dirtiest alley in the city. How dare you treat me like this? Do you have any idea how much money I make? Take it back! Now!

Faustus: Not so fast, man. No need to hurry. Don’t you remember what you said about me a minute ago? I think we’re about even.

President: Look, do me a favor and fix him up.

Faustus: For you, Mr. President, no problem. I was just joking. (to Spokesperson) But maybe from now on you’ll treat an educated man with proper respect. Mephistophilis, clean up this mess. (MEPHISTOPHILIS removes the horns) That’s it for me, I’m out of here.

President: Thanks a lot, Faustus. You can expect a big fat check in the mail from me.


SCENE XI

(enter FAUSTUS and MEPHISTOPHILIS)

Faustus: Okay, Mephistophilis, I know my time is running short, so let’s get back home.

Mephist: You want to drive or take a cab?

Faustus: Actually, I think I’ll walk. It’s a nice day.

(enter a Used Car Salesman)

Salesman: I been looking all over for you, Mr. Fusto! Hey, How ya doin’?

Faustus: Hey. What’s up with you?

Salesman: I’ll give you a thousand dollars for that old car you got.

Faustus: I don’t know. It cost a lot more than that. I’ll let you have it for two thousand.

Salesman: That’s all I got. Come on, give a man a break!

Mephist: Come on, Faustus. Let him have it. He’s got a good life—not wife, no kids. You can get all the money you want.

Faustus: All right, I’ll take it. But I have to warn you: Don’t try to drive this car up the alley, slim. Don’t do that.

Salesman: Why, are the tires bad?

Faustus: The tires are fine. You can drive it on the highway or through a ditch, anywhere you want, just don’t drive it up the alley.

Salesman: Okay, okay. I gots me a car. I ain’t sellin’ this joint for even twice what I bought it for. Just remember, I’m gonna check the oil and the engine and if anything’s wrong, you’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

Faustus: Go away, you hustler. What do you think I am, a mechanic? (exit the Salesman)

And what am I, but a dead man walking?

My life will be over soon. Depression makes me not trust my own thoughts. Maybe some sleep will bring peace and quiet to my mind. (falls asleep in his chair)

(re-enter Salesman, all wet and crying)

Salesman: Oh no…This is horrible! The last doctor I went to wasn’t a real doctor. He said he would clean me up, but he cleaned me out of a thousand dollars. My money’s gone.
Like the fool I was, I wouldn’t listen to him. He told me not to drive in the alley, but me being young and dumb, I drove straight up the alley. Next thing I know, the car disappears right in front of me and I’m sitting on the ground on a floor mat!

But you watch, I’ma get my money back, or he’ll be sorry. A-yo, there’s his li’l side-kick. Hey you, Clown! Where’s your boss?

Mephist: Hey man! He’s busy now. He ain’t got time for you.

Salesman: He can make time.

Mephist: He’s asleep. Come back later.

Salesman: How about he talks to me right now or I’ll break his neck?

Mephist: I’m telling you, he hasn’t slept in a minute.

Salesman: And that’s the sleepy guy I’m gonna speak with.

Mephist: Aiight, aiight, go find him.

Salesman: Ay, there he is—Aye wake up! I need to talk with you, Doctor.

Mephist: Look, he can’t hear you.

Salesman: Oh yeah? (Shouts in his ear) Wake up now, or I’ll wake you up. (Pulls FAUSTUS by the leg)

Faustus: Ow. Ow. Mephisto, call the Feds. He going nuts!

Mephist: Okay. I’ll call 911. They’ll take him to jail.

Salesman: Lemme go, lemme go. I’ll give you twenty bucks to drop me.

Mephist: Fine, where’s your money?

Salesman: I ain’t got it…with me—but aye, aye, we can go to my apartment and get it.

Mephist: Get outta here.

(Salesman runs away)

Faustus: Good riddance. I’ma sue the crap out of him for that.

(Enter Wagner)

What’s up, Wagner? What’s the gossip?

Wagner: This guy would like to speak with you. Seems urgent.

Faustus: Oh yeah, I think I know who you’re talking about. Thinks he’s smart, too. Ay Mephisto, let’s go see this guy.


SCENE XII

Enter DONALD TRUMP, his Wife, and MEPHISTOPHILIS


Trump: Bee-lee me, top Doc, you cool. All this happiness makes me happy.

Faustus: Dawg, I’m glad that works out for ya. But maybe your wife isn’t having such a good time. I’ve heard that fat chicks like to have a big dessert after dinner.

Ms. Trump: Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’m not gonna lie—I’d really love to have a four-scoop hot fudge sundae with cookies and cream ice cream. But it’s too late now. Baskin Robbins is closed.

Faustus: No problem. Anything for you. Go fetch, Mephistophilis.

(Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS with a hot fudge sundae)

Here you go, girl. With a cherry on top!

Trump: How’d you do that? Rich as I am, I can’t get a Baskin Robbins sundae when the store is closed.

Faustus: Well, you know it’s 11:00 at night in D.C., but in L.A. it’s only 8pm. You just gotta know the right people. How do you like your ice cream, ma’am?

Ms. Trump: MMMM. It tastes so good.

Trump: You made my wife happier than I ever do. How much do I owe you?

Faustus: I’ll let you know later…


SCENE XIII

Enter WAGNER

Wagner: I think my boss is about to die. He has given me everything he owns. But, if he was about to die, why would he throw a party? Or be out on the dance floor with all the young ladies? And he sure is feasting like everything is fine. He’s eating like a pig. Oh. Dinner’s over. What’s he up to now?

(exit WAGNER)


SCENE XIV

(Enter FAUSTUS with Scholars and MEPHISTOPHILIS)

First Scholar: Faustus, since we had our talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly, we have come to a decision that Beyoncé of Hollywood is the best-looking woman that ever lived. So, if you can do us a favor and let us hang with her, we will owe you for a lifetime.

Faustus: Fellas,

Now, I know our friendship is stronger than ever, and I try to show love for the friends who have always been there for me. So here she is, Beyoncé of Hollywood.

(Music plays and Beyoncé comes out)

Second Scholar: I…I’m speechless.

Third Scholar: I know what you mean. That’s the kind of woman that’s worth fighting over.

First Scholar: Wait till I tell everyone! I went out with Beyoncé! I guess we can go now. Thank you, Faustus. I hope you live happily ever after.

Faustus: Same to you.

(Enter an Old Man)

Old Man: Faustus, listen to me for a second. I’m trying to help you out here. You’ve got to do the right thing. Just repent. Right now, you’re evil and dirty. Disgusting, really. You won’t get anywhere acting like you do. You’re full of sins. But remember, Faustus, you can still be forgiven. It’s up to you to decide. Think about it.

Faustus: Oh wow. Faustus, what have you done? I give up. It’s over now. I can hear the devil calling in my ear, saying “That’s it, Faustus. Your time is up. Come on down!” I might as well get it over with…

(MEPHISTOPHILIS gives him a knife)

Old Man: Naw, Faustus, you should stay. I can see a halo over your head already. The angels are just waiting for your call so they can tell you what to do and how to be forgiven. Call them now—see what they have to say.

Faustus: Thanks. You really are a good friend. I feel better already. I need to think this over.

Old Man: I’ll go now, Faustus, but you’re freaking me out. You better do something quick, or you won’t stand a chance.

Faustus: Curse you, self! Where’s the mercy? Boy, am I sorry for what I’ve done. But how can I get out of this mess? I don’t see a way out.

Mephist: That’s right, traitor. Your soul is under arrest for breaking the laws of the underworld. You better cut it out now or I’ll make eternal damnation look like a Happy Meal.

Faustus: Okay, forget it. I know I made a promise. You want me to write it out in blood again for you?

Mephist: Yeah, hurry up. And you better mean it this time.

(FAUSTUS stabs his arm and writes in blood)

Faustus: I better face it. I’m just too scared to go up against Lucifer.

Mephist: I can’t touch his soul just yet. I can hurt him physically if I want to, but I doubt I’ll get very far with that.

Faustus: You know what might help? What I really deserve? You need to fix me up with Beyoncé, who I just saw a minute ago. Yeah, one kiss from her would really get these thoughts about betraying Lucifer out of my mind.

Mephist: No problem. Here she is.

(Re-enter Beyoncé)

Faustus: So this is the face that has everyone going crazy? Oh, Beyoncé, I’ll live forever with just one kiss. Come and make my soul pure—your lips can take me to heaven and back again. Anything that’s not you is nothing to me. You don’t need Jay-Zee, together we can stop the violence in D.C. and win the war in Iraq. We’ll even capture Osama Bin Laden. I will wear your school colors faithfully across my chest. You are more beautiful than a thousand stars and lovelier than the flowers in the springtime. And I’m telling you this from the bottom of my heart.


SCENE XV

(Enter the Old Man)


Old Man: Poor, sick, cursed Faustus. You sorry sucker. You turned your back on Heaven, so there’s only one place left for you.

(Enter Devils)

Too bad, Devil. This is one man you can’t lay a finger on. My time is coming soon, but I know where I’m headed, and it won’t be down there.

(Exit Devils on one side, Old Man on the other)


SCENE XVI

(Enter FAUSTUS with Scholars)

Faustus: Hey.

First Scholar: What’s wrong?

Faustus: Oh, my good friends, if I would have stuck with you, I’d still be alive. But I’m a dead man now. Look—he’s coming for me!

Second Scholar: Man, what are you talking about?

Third Scholar: I think his head’s messed up from being alone too long.

First Scholar: Let’s get him a doctor. It’s nothing, man. You just had a few too many. You’re going to be okay.

Faustus: I had a few too many deadly sins. I’m a goner, for real.

Second Scholar: Stop thinking like that Faustus. God will see you through.

Faustus: No, what I’ve done can’t be forgiven. Listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth. Remember, I’ve been studying here at Howard for about thirty years. That’s a really long time. If only I could have stuck with my homework and never picked up that stupid book of spells! Everyone knows what I’ve done with my life. Yeah, I had a taste of the good life—the whole world saw that—but look what I gave up for it. Now I have no chance at Heaven. I know where I’m going. Forever. What will happen to me if I’m stuck in Hell forever?

Third Scholar: Faustus, go to church. Call on God and ask forgiveness.

Faustus: Me? Call on God after I betrayed him? By that contract, the devil owns me. Even if I wanted to raise my hands and praise him, I couldn’t. See? My hands have been cuffed. They hold me down.

All: Who are “they”?

Faustus: Lucifer and Mephistophilis, that’s who. I sold them my soul for these skills I got.

All: For real?

Faustus: Yes. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. I got twenty-four years of living the good life, but for that I gave up eternal happiness. I wrote an I.O.U. in my own blood. My time ran out, and in a day or two he’s going to come for me.

First Scholar: Why didn’t you tell us at first? So we could have done something about it?

Faustus: I should have. I’ve thought about it a lot. But he threatened to rip me to pieces and send what was left of me straight to Hell if I spoke one word about God. Now it’s too late. Ya’ll better get out of here unless you want to die with me.

Second Scholar: What can we do? We want to help you.

Faustus: Don’t worry about me. Save your own lives, and leave me alone.

Third Scholar: I can take it. God will give me strength. I’m staying.

First Scholar: Don’t risk it. Let’s go into the next room and pray for him.

Faustus: That’s right, pray. Pray for me. And no matter what you hear, don’t come back in here, cause nothing can save me.

Second Scholar: If you pray, then we’ll pray for you. We’ll pray for you to be forgiven.

Faustus: Bye, friends. If I’m alive in the morning, I’ll come over. If you don’t see me—I’m in Hell.

All: Good bye.

(Exit Scholars. The clock strikes eleven)

Faustus: Only one more hour to live. Then I’m gone to suffer forever. Time, stand still so that the clock never hits 12:00. Or let this day last a year, a month, even just a week. So I can fix things up and save my life!

The stars are still moving, my time is running out. At midnight the devil will come and I’m lost. Maybe not—maybe I can jump up to heaven. I know they could help me up there. Lucifer, don’t hurt me for saying that. I gotta try. I think I can see God’s face and, uh-oh, it looks like he’s real mad at me.

No, no! Where can I run to? Can I crawl inside the earth, shoot myself off into space? Is there anyplace that will take me?

(the clock strikes 11:30)

A half hour left. That used to seem like a really long time when I was a kid, and I had to wait for dinner. Look, if you won’t have mercy on me, could you just send me to Guantanamo? Or how about if I just go to Hell for a thousand years? Or a hundred thousand? Just so I know it will be over some day. I mean, forever is a really long time. Like, forever. Why does my soul have to be immortal? Why can’t I be like a dog, and just die at the end of my life?

Why did I have to be born? Why were my parents ever born? No, it’s all my fault. I made my choice. It’s all my fault and Lucifer’s.

(the clock strikes 12)

That’s it. My time is up. Maybe I can just disappear.

(thunder and lightning)

Oh, please, soul. Change yourself into smoke and vanish in the air!

(Enter Devils)

Oh, God, don’t look at me like that. I know you’re mad at me. Snakes, spiders, let me breathe just a minute longer! Lucifer, please don’t come for me! I’ll burn the books; I swear I won’t mess up again! Help, help, Mephistophilis—Nooooooooooo…

(exit Devils with FAUSTUS)


Enter Chorus

He could have been great,
Could have been a leader, husband, father,
So many roads to travel, so much could have been his—
But instead of reaching for the stars, he grabbed at the worst inside himself
And wound up lower than any man has ever been.
Do you see? Are you listening? Have you learned anything from his sad story?
Your opportunities are endless but, still, there are questions you should never ask.
There are places no one should ever go.
That’s all.
GAME OVER.

End

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