This sketchbook version will use as a contemporary struggle to illustrate the classic Faustian Bargain–the cycle of addiction or compulsions to do things we know are self destructive. I was inspired by what I consider our latest public example– the tragic relationship between Michael Jackson and his doctor, Conrad Murray.
In this spirit, I’ve designed Mephistopheles to represent Faust’s own internal destruction– the alluring manifestation of self-destructive desires. Each time Mephistopheles appears, his appearance will shift to reflect Faust’s descent into monstrosity.
In this imaginary production, Faust is a cosmetic surgeon addicted to methamphetamine, treating wealthy clients who want the appearance of eternal youth. As the opera opens, my Dr Faust will have killed a patient due to his addled judgement. He contemplates suicide, and in his desperation conjures his demon to appear.
The first time we see Mephistopheles, he embodies the things Faust has been trying to achieve through his surgery practice– youth, confidence and alluring power over others.