Faust Foutu

Faust Foutu

Robert Duncan

Faust Foutu (Faust Screwed) is a satire featuring a mid-20th-century Faust as a bourgeois artist "suffering" for his art. It was first performed by poets and painters in San Francisco in 1955. The book includes drawings by the poet made to accompany the printed text.

"In the early fifties the art of painting was at the cutting edge (Clyfford Still, Pollock, Rothko) -- it's not surprising that this "screwed" Faust is a painter or that a public reading and performance of the piece should have taken place at San Francisco's most intensely avant garde art gallery, the Six Gallery. It's no surprise either that the actors in the presentation, seated at a long table on a little dais, should be friends, actors, experimental film-makers, poets, painters, and playwrights. Poet Jack Spicer leaned towards the audience at moments with intensity and almost boyish innocence of expression and near harshness of diction. Larry Jordan, the film-maker, had been encouraged by Duncan to just sing loudly and naturally letting his untrained voice carry Faust's songs. Painter, and life-friend of Duncan's, Jess Collins, spoke his lines with immense clarity and irony. The play was being tested on the ear, there was no acting-out as Duncan did in his solo performances, this was to be heard—and, listen, it's still sounding." -Michael McClure

Robert Duncan's "comic masque" Faust Foutu was first performed in 1955 and published in a small edition in 1960 with drawings by the poet, reproduced here in a trade edition.

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