Faustus in Africa - 2025

Performance Theatre

Faustus in Africa is a collaboration between Handspring Puppet Company and William Kentridge, a re-working of their 1995 production of the same name.

Faustus in Africa is an ageless tale. Its themes of compromise are universal, making urgent sense to each successive generation; to betray one’s better judgment for short term gain tempts us all. It is the burning question behind our climate emergency, and the trade-offs and expediency that underly the desperate problems our world is facing. This production is a harmonious blend of theatre, puppetry, with music by the late James Phillips underscoring William Kentridge’s glorious animations.

Faustus goes on safari to consume all that Africa has to offer. His desires become those of the archetypal colonialist. Through a journey of greed, passion and destruction he victimises the African people and their land. Directed by William Kentridge, with design and puppet-mastery by Handspring Puppet Company, this re-working of the myth which inspired Goethe’s classic tale of an ill-fated deal with the Devil utilises it a metaphor for politics in the new South Africa and globally.

The script combines texts from some of the most complex literary incarnations of the devil found in Goethe’s drama Faust, Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita and connected through the irony of South African poet Lesego Rampolokeng, complementing each other beyond mere influence. Goethe’s Mephistopheles and Bulgakov’s Devil Woland embody the human quest for transcendent knowledge and freedom. 



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Artistic & Puppetry Directors : Adrian Kohler & Basil Jones (Handspring Puppet Company)

Director :  William Kentridge

Design: Adrian Kohler, William Kentridge

Animation: William Kentridge

Rehearsal Director : Lara Foot

Rehearsal Director : Yang Wey

Music : James Phillips

Additional text : Lesego Rampolokeng


1995 Production credits : Handspring Puppet Company in association with The Market Theatre, Art Bureau (Munich), Kunstfest (Weimar), the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, The Foundation for the Creative Arts, and Mannie Manim Productions.