Easily one of the most interesting Faustus interps I’ve seen recently was a local college production where the demons DIDNT just immediately, violently drag Faust to hell in the last scene.
Instead, as the clock was approaching midnight, soft music started playing ((Non Je Ne Regrette Rein by Edith Piaf)), and a spotlight fell on Mephistopheles, who had been standing downstage for most of the scene, hidden in darkness.
He walked across the stage, where the actor playing Faust was. He was kneeling, face in hands, openly weeping, and Mephistopheles helped him to his feet. And then they started to slow dance.
Mephistopheles was clearly leading, and Faust was just kinda slumped over on him, with his face buried in his neck, not really moving as much. And it’s all like, really genuinely tender? You get the impression that Mephistopheles is trying to make Faust’s last moments at least somewhat peaceful.
And then, as the song is getting to the last part, you see this circular red outline appear under them. It starts out really dim, but as the song draws to a close, it gets brighter and brighter. And then, during the last lines of the song, Mephistopheles let’s go of Faustus and steps out of the circle. And THAT is when Faust gets dragged to hell. The red circle starts to lower down into the stage, and you see all these hands begin to reach up and grab at Faust and at the edges of the circle. And Mephistopheles just watches. Calmly.
The stage closed back up. Faust is gone. Mephistopheles just kinda saunters over to Fausts bed and sits down on it. Then after a few seconds, the scholars come in and give their whole shpeal. However, when they go to leave, Mephistopheles gets up and follows them. Just as the Second Scholar is about to exit, Mephistopheles whispers something seductively in his ear. The scholar pauses for a moment, shakes his head, and leaves.
Chorus. End. That’s it.
The entire thing was an odd mix of tender and spooky, and it’s almost hard to get a read on what the director was going for. But I still thought it was incredibly cool.