Kit Harington learns magic for Doctor Faustus role

By Tim Masters
Arts and entertainment correspondent

Image source, Oliver Rosser
Image caption,
Kit Harington is returning to the stage for the first time in six years at London's Duke of York Theatre

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington is learning the art of stage illusion for his new West End role in Doctor Faustus.

The actor, best known for playing Jon Snow in the HBO fantasy show, will play the lead in Christopher Marlowe's famous 16th Century tragedy.

"The subject matter is very enticing," Harington said of the play. "It's very dark and funny."

Directed by Jamie Lloyd, it opens at the Duke of York's Theatre in April.

It's Harington's first stage role since he appeared in the original production of Laura Wade's Posh at the Royal Court in 2010.

Doctor Faustus tells the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil in return for magical powers.

Two new acts by Colin Teevan will explore how Faustus becomes a world-famous conjuror in a celebrity-obsessed society.

Image source, AP/HBO
Image caption,
Kit Harington tells Game of Thrones fans 'next season will be very exciting'

"I see him as a magician in the vein of David Copperfield or David Blaine," Harington told the BBC.

"In preparation I've been to see an old friend who's getting me au fait with the rules of magic.

"The show is going to have a big fantastical element. It's wild and atmospheric. It's got some David Lynch influence behind it.

"There will be things that delight an audience while they watch this man being dragged to hell."

Harington said the role of the demon Mephistopheles would be played by a woman, but casting is still to be announced.

Harington said he had been looking for the right stage project since finding fame as Jon Snow in five seasons on Game of Thrones.

"I desperately wanted to do theatre in London," he said. "I've been doing a lot of screen work for a long time - so this was right time, right place, right people."

SPOILER ALERT - do not read on if you do not know what happens in Season Five of Game of Thrones

Asked about his future in Game of Thrones, after the apparent death of Jon Snow at the end of season five, Harington urged fans to stick with the show.

"They should tune in and watch because whatever happens in the next season will be very exciting. But John Snow is dead I'm afraid.

"I think [fans' speculation] is great for the show - but they shouldn't get their hopes up about anything because Game of Thrones is very good at dashing hopes.

"It's been a gateway into many things for me - including this play - and I love it and owe it a lot. I hope that people keep watching it as it comes to a slow, gradual end."

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