The preacher seems to come out of nowhere. Staring into my eyes, the only part of my face visible behind the mask, he takes me by the hand and leads me through a hidden door into his parlour. He locks the door behind him. The room is sparsely decorated, with a crucifix on the wall, and a single table. Through another door I can see a small bed, in a room with walls covered in newspaper sheets.
He sits me down in a chintz armchair, and takes a seat at the table.
"Are you a woman of sin, or are you a woman of God?"
He looks straight at me, his demeanour unwavering. I smile nervously, but he cannot see me behind the mask.
"Are you prepared to take the path of the righteous, and to stay on the straight road?"
I don't know whether I should say anything. It appears that silence is the same as agreement, for he takes my mask from my face and flings it across the room, before putting his ginger whiskered face right up against mine and screaming the word of God at me. I close my eyes.
He puts his hot hands on my face, runs them through my hair, pulling my hair clips out, squeezes my head between his palms and starts shouting: THANK YOU, JESUS! THANK YOU, JESUS! THANK YOU, JESUS!...
The ecstasy of religious devotion over, he hands me back my mask, puts his hat back on, and lets me back into the street - a neon apocalypse of sin in which he is the one Godly man.
This wasn't a hallucination, nor was it fiction I thought up on the train home last night. It was Faust, a contemporary and groundbreaking retelling transposed to the American Midwest in the 1950s.
The audience wear masks to differentiate them from the actors, who do not.
The set is built in a derelict warehouse, and spread out over 4 floors. The actors roam from scene to scene, to interact with other characters. We, the audience, can follow particular characters in their journey, or just roam at will, hoping to catch a vital scene, or a piece of dance.
There's a very good review here , but I don't think that neither I, nor any reviewer, could possibly put into words what was such a surreal and intoxicating night I feel utterly spellbound, by not only the story, but the whole experience.