The Faust Way

There is a reason that Club membership has fluctuated from as few as two to as many as 52. That reason is called "The Way Faust Works" Or "The Faust Way." You will hear many, many Faustkateers use that phrase when they don't like the way something's going. They'll say, "It's not the Faust Way," with a snotty, little trill to their voice. The Faust Way starts about three or four months before the actual show goes up when the Writing Faustkateers get together with Mickee.

Read the next couple of paragraphs in the voice of those old film newsreels.

The Writing Faustkateers are a merry band of mischief-makers! Pseudo-rodents who actually write for a living -- playwrights, radio reporters, lawyers, professors and students of various disciplines-- are paired with pseudo-rodents who have never really "written" before but read a lot or watch tons of TV and when they see a Faust show think to themselves "Hey, I can do that."

When these pseudo writer-pseudo rodents come to a Faust Writers meeting everything they've written is laughed at -- but not in the way they intended.(Remember that when you come to us with a script in hand).

There are also those other unsung whatevers called the IDEA SLUBS. They can't write, don't want to write but have some really good ideas that they're willing to foist off on the hapless fool who's willing to do the shit work of writing.

THE WRITING FAUSKATEERS, the PSEDUO/PSEUDOS and the IDEA SLUBS get together and brainstorm -- they read the scripts, mull over their dreams and shameful impulses. The people who are drawn to Faust are very strange, consequently so is their subject matter. Faust writers like to make fun of just about everything -- sex, death, religion, the audience, each other. We talk about what we want to write or what we've already written or what we can steal that we read in a book or a newspaper or heard on radio or overheard at a party or a restaurant. Some of the writers seem divinely inspired. This causes a great deal of resentment among those of us that are not but eventually we get over it in the great competitive drive to outdo each other.

Writing is an undertaking that involves self-revelation, so the writer's ego can be fragile. We all know how fun it can be to crush the fragile ego underfoot like an eggshell. But after the yolk has dried on our toes, we feel remorseful, don't we? We say to ourselves next time we'll avoid feeding our own sense of self-importance by undercutting the self-worth of others. Every Faustkateer who has ever offered an opinion at a writer's meeting has been on the receiving or giving end of that cycle of remorse. Which takes us to the REHEARSAL PROCESS.

Wait wait! Let's not forget the AUDITIONING PROCESS. Somehow word gets out that the writers have written. This is often signaled by the tolling of a bell, a puff of smoke and a flag fluttering from a high window. The people who are able to put these clues together show up at the Clubhouse to read for parts. Sometimes these people are not dues paying members of the Mickee Faust Club. They are graciously allowed to read anyway. If these eager upstarts are perfectly suited for a part that an older more grizzled veteran wants -- sometimes the upstart will get the part. It depends on the whim of THOSE WHO DO THE CASTING.

THOSE WHO DO THE CASTING are wise and grizzled veterans of Faust and anyone else who has an interest in doing the shit work of casting. A scattering of eager upstarts usually show up to keep an eye on the grizzled vets. They sit together in tense harmony at the Clubhouse and for several hours sift through the names and the schedules of the millions of people who read for the very, very, very few parts. Preferential casting is always given to the dues paying members of the Club. And why not? They've busted their butts for Faust, put in years of work, stuck with the Club through good times and lean, or had sex once with Mickee. They deserve to be rewarded. The leavings are divided among the upstarts who kowtow to the veterans. The rest are cast as sheep.

Now for the REHEARSAL PROCESS. It is grueling. The people who call themselves directors and the people who would like to call themselves directors have been assigned a script (by the very same people who cast the show). Director wanna be's are sometimes assigned to a veteran director or sometimes a veteran director is assigned to them. Whatever works. The director and the cast get together with their assigned scripts and the assigned time (also determined by the very same people who cast the show -- who miraculously got the very best rehearsal time slots, the most lovingly supportive directors and the very best scripts). Each skit is given an hour or two hour formal rehearsal period per week. Rehearsals last six weeks. Each director has its/his/her own style -- but people are free to disagree with it/him/her.

Then comes DRESS REHEARSAL also called BREAK OUT THE BEER AND DOPE. Every Faustkateer but Mickee pitches in to see that it all goes smoothly. They hang curtains and buy toilet paper and sweep floors. Ugly stuff like that. And around this time mysterious forces are afoot in the air over Tallahassee. All over the city, whole groups of female soccer and softball players stop in mid kick or mid catch (depending on the sport) and hie them as if compelled to the Clubhouse. They walk through the doors and beg to be given the most thankless tasks. "O gracious Faust," they beg, "let us move the sets! Build the ramps! Run the lights!" 

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