Amadeus, by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Riley Lucas
Summary from Concord Theatrics: “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives in Vienna determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius and seized by obsessive jealousy, court composer Antonio Salieri begins a war with Mozart, with music, and ultimately, with God.”
At its core, Amadeus is a show about a man having complicated feelings for another man, and finding himself abandoning his religion, his principles, and his morals because of it. This story, written by a queer man, highlights these themes in one of the most masterful ways I’ve ever seen. Real, raw, human anguish, painstaking jealousy, and the iron grasp of revenge. This show is a perfectly formulated drama that’s captivated audiences for decades.
I want to explore dichotomies in this show. The old-fashioned, stuffy views of the imperial court versus the modern, youthfulness of Mozart and his wife. The composed (pardon the pun), straightlaced front Salieri puts on in public versus the absolute wreck he is behind closed doors. The brightness of the serenades and the gloominess of the dirges. I want to play with textures, lights, sounds – possibly having some of the music performed live – to really enhance these transformations. I love mixing time periods, and having hints of “new” in this old world of the 18th century could be something really unexpected and fun.
This is a show that’s constantly in motion. We zip through decades, traverse all of Austria, and explore the most intimate details of these men’s lives. I would love to make the ensemble as collaborative as possible. I’m always thinking of ways to add fun, intentional movement to this show to really keep the story clean and fresh. I want everyone to feel like they are on stage with intention and purpose, even if you “only have a few lines”, or your character doesn’t speak at all. That being said, there are opportunities in this show for people of ALL abilities, and I strive to make this show inclusive for everybody regardless of mobility levels. I encourage people who are looking for a less-movement intensive show to come and audition for this piece. We are a community. That means ALL of us. Team building exercises and mindfulness of others during the rehearsal process is a must.
While Amadeus is based on real historical figures, it is a highly fictionalized retelling of their lives, and nothing in the script stipulates that any particular gender expression or racial presentation must be adhered to. The beauty of this show is that it lends itself to a wide pull of different human beings exploring different human experiences. Representation is important to me. Telling this story through an “unconventional” lens is important to me. Having a broad cast and crew with different perspectives and backgrounds coming together to collaborate is important to me. I want to reach out to several different cultural centers to try and make sure this show is representative of as much of our community as possible. I never want somebody to feel unseen. Rabbi Dayna Rutterberg says, “We need diverse representation not only so every kid can see themselves as the hero of the story, but so that every kid can understand that *other* kinds of kids are *also* the heroes of the story.” I don’t think this applies to just “kids” either. Wink wink.
Casting-wise, here’s what I’m looking for: A cast of roughly 20-26. Aside from the named cast, this show has a flexible ensemble who will serve as Citizens of Vienna or “servants” who will, in full costume, carry on and off set pieces throughout the show depending on their personal ability levels. There are non-speaking parts who are key players – a great opportunity for those who want to be on stage without the pressure of learning lines. It’s also possible to double the Venticelli to a group of four, or, rather, two teams of partners with great chemistry to be the “purveyors of gossip”. I want all of these people to represent a realistic, diverse picture of society.