By Paul David Young; Directed by Augustus Heagerty
Produced by Skylight Productions
Off Off Broadway, Clown Show
Runs through 6.26.17
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
by Aiden Dreskin on 6.15.17
Aidan O'Shea, Regina Strayhorn, Ayun Halliday, and Ben Watts in Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal.
Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
BOTTOM LINE: A Faust-inspired clown show that pokes fun at the POTUS.
What if there were a country where everyone agreed to a deal with a Demon Clown who promised to improve everyone's lives if they made him their king? What if he was lying? What if, in an unexpected turn of events, the new ruler started shitting all over everyone, instead of helping them like he said he would? Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal explores this perfectly fictional scenario and the gross, unfortunate consequences of this agreement for the populace.
There are some strange and amusing moments in Faust 3. It's very intelligent and the connections it draws between Donald Trump and Mephistopheles, the demon of Faustian legend, are spot on. However, much like the administration the piece aims to lampoon, the whole thing feels not-quite-together. After reading more about the show and its inspirations afterwards, I was able to fill in more of the blanks in my head, but as an audience member walking in with almost no context, I had a hard time following the action.
Written by Paul David Young, this new art-theatre piece focuses on four subjects who spend sixty-or-so minutes both praising and decrying the king's actions, sometimes arguing back and forth about whether or not his shit is actually good for the people. They take turns preaching to the audience about their relationship to the king, breaking into song and dance and quoting "holy scripture" (in 140 characters or less). Intermittently, the action stops and the lights go down for a video interlude, where vaguely familiar shapes and sounds appear for brief moments before giving way to more clowning.
I learned quickly that this wouldn't be a conventional play, but there was a game being played and the rules hadn't been explained to me. There are a couple spontaneous shifts in tone where the direction of things seems to change, just raising more questions about exactly what I'm watching. The language throughout is poetic and visceral, and the cast really commits to relishing their degradation, but I missed the main event. I don't know what happened. I'm not sure why it was shown to me.
Maybe seeing it a second time would help. Understanding better what I am seeing, I might be able to parse out more of the meaning behind the content. One viewing, though, left me without much sentiment besides a general distaste for the current President of the United States. And while I happen to appreciate and agree with message I picked up on, I couldn't help but feel there was more there that just hadn't been communicated to me.
(Faust 3: The Turd Coming plays at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, through June 26, 2017. The running time is 65 minutes. Performances are Tuesdays at 7; Wednesdays at 2 and 7; Thursdays and Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 2 and 8; and Sundays at 3. Tickets are $25 and are available at
faust3theturdcoming.com or by calling 800-838-3006.)
Faust 3: The Turd Coming is by Paul David Young. Directed by Augustus Heagerty. Lighting Design is by Kia Rogers. Costume Design is by Scout Isensee. Scenic and Prop Design are by Jarrod Beck. Video Projections are by Melissa Friedling.
The cast is Ayun Halliday, Aiden O'Shea, Regina Strayhorn and Ben Watts.