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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

October 17, 2003

Succumb to Temptation at CSUS

Kate Castor in Temptation.
Kate Castor in Temptation.
Photo by Jason Lehrbaum.

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The West Coast premiere of the diabolical comedy Temptation, by former Czech President Vaclav Havel, is set to take the stage in a production by the CSUS theatre and dance department at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30, in the University Theatre. The show continues Oct. 31, Nov. 1, 2 and Nov. 6 to 9, Monday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

The play, directed by theatre and dance professor Gina Kaufmann, is a Faustian parable exploring a community’s idolization of agenda over moral choice. “It’s so much fun, it’s so theatrical,” says Kaufmann. “There’s the devil, there’s dancing, there’s fire. That’s what I love about this play, it has it all.”

The production follows Dr. Henry Foustka, who is employed by “The Scientific Institute” to conduct research into “irrational tendencies.” His work at the institute is eclipsed by his nighttime dabbling in the occult, a hobby that introduces him to the evil-smelling and devious Fistula, a character who offers Foustka tempting powers.

At first refusing, Foustka finally gives in, a choice that leads to an epic struggle for control of his life and work. Oppressed by the director of the institute and mocked by his colleagues, Foustka’s dilemma explodes under the pressure during the “Witches’ Sabbath” costume party that is the play’s frenzied conclusion.

Havel wrote the play in the early 1980s while imprisoned for his dissident views by the government of what was then Czechoslovakia. The play is a biting commentary, filled with satirical wit, on the political state of Eastern Europe at that time. Propelled to the presidency by Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” of 1989, Havel played a major role in the deconstruction of the political apparatus he rails against in Temptation.

The play is a directional debut for Kaufmann at CSUS, and includes sets by opera designer Leon Weibers and tango choreography by theatre and dance professor Paul Besaw.

Tickets are $15 general, $8 for students and seniors, and available from the CSUS Ticket Office or For more information, call (916) 278-6604.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •