What’s the best thing about the American Shakespeare Center’s production of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, opening tomorrow night? There’s no way to tell, but the best thing I know before seeing it is that the same actor (John Harrell) is playing Lucifer and the Pope — not to mention the Holy Roman Emperor and the Duke of Vanholt. Whether the implicit parallel owes more to Marlowe or the ASC, and what (if anything) they will do with it, I do not know. I’m looking forward to this play more than most. Dr. Faustus is one of the two books I loved in high school and still love. (The other is Borges’ prose.) I don’t really ‘get’ most of Shakespeare’s plays (especially the comedies) from reading them, but Dr. Faustus has a simple — or at least linear — and powerful plot.
As for my title question, yes: there is one previous use of the phrase. Of course, this will make two.