Search Search

MACH 33: "Faustus, PhD"

Saturday, May 6, 2017
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Ramo Auditorium

Graduate student Johann Faustus is going nowhere. He's published no papers, wooed no women, and his lab work leaps from failure to failure. The only thing he's discovered in three years of research is that lemon yogurt mixed with ramen is disgusting; life would be so much better if only he knew in advance which experiments would work …

Be careful what you wish for. The muttered reading of a 400-year-old spell found in a late-night search of the Internet's darker, dustier bookshelves summons the Devil's sidekick, Mephistopheles. Faustus signs in blood on the dotted line, and a doctorate, the girl of his dreams, and a stake in a highly successful startup company are all his before intermission. The comedy turns dark in the second act, when the sand has run through the hourglass and the bill for Faustus's soul comes due. Will he find a way out of the bargain before it's too late?

This retelling of the timeless tale of hubris was written by Mark Kozlowski, himself a fourth-year graduate student in biochemistry. "I'll say some parts of it are autobiographical," Kozlowski acknowledges, "but I won't say which ones."

Faustus, PhD is directed by award-winning Randee Trabitz, who recently directed John Fleck's Blacktop Highway at REDCAT. She also works regularly with Obie-winning puppeteer PaulZaloom, and she teaches at Cal State LA. The cast of Faustus, PhD stars Caltech students, alum, and Caltech/JPL scientists Joshua Zeller, Barbie Insua, Tiffany Kim, Utkarsh Mital, Douglas Smith, Elizabeth Terlinder, Henry Mendell, Annie Marinan, Manan Arya, and Maryam Ali.

For further information, please call the Caltech Office for Performing and Visual Arts at (626) 395-3295.

The performance of Faustus, PhD is the last show for the 2017 MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech, presented by Caltech Theater under the direction of Brian Brophy. Staged readings of two other science-based plays were also featured in the festival. For more information about Mach 33, go to

Presented By: Caltech Performing and Visual Arts

Series: MACH 33 Festival of New Science-Driven Plays
General admission: $12; Caltech/JPL: $10; students $5
For more information, please phone 626-395-4652

Upcoming events

Event archive