Presented At Bainbridge Performing Arts
A BPA Chambers Music Collaboration
Written by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Kate Carruthers
Music Direction by Josh Anderson
Fridays & Saturdays, March 11-26th
Whenever I hear the name ‘Mozart’ or ‘Amadeus’, I inherently giggle and then thank the universe for a few things. One, that I had an incredible drama teacher in high school who became (and remains to be) one of my theatrical mentors. Two, that this teacher led a class where we explored and analyzed the text for Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. Third, that this happened within my teenage years and that I have been able to grow up with and see this beautiful production live. While the film version is fantastic (if this is your only means of exploring this brilliant text, I highly recommend it) the stage production is the way it was meant to be experienced. Unfortunately, this weekend is closing and that means you only have TWO MORE CHANCES! Do yourself a favor and book a ticket for this Friday or Saturday HERE. You will not be disapointed! A ferry ride to and from the island, a fantastic show and an evening of Mozart…what more could you want? I can almost guarantee that you will be as spellbound as I still am, well over a decade later.
In Amadeus, Shaffer weaves together the two lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. The latter being our narrator throughout the show and our insight into the life of a legend. We begin on the night that Salieri plans to take his own life. He is consumed with guilt and desperate to admit to the murder of Mozart, believing that in the end, he and his actions are what truly what killed him. What follows is a brilliant melding of music, madness and mystery. Even after all this time, I always find myself completely enraptured.
The performances in this show are what sets this production apart from any other. Nelsen Spickard as Salieri and Luke Walker as Mozart are extraordinary. They play off each other like old friends and the sibling-like competition between the two, which grows throughout each scene they share, is palpable. Melissa Fenwick, playing Constanze, is phenomenal. Constanze is a complicated character to be sure (Stanze is not your average woman in the late 1700’s) and one that requires depth, vulnerability and gallons of charisma all at once. Fenwick absolutely shines in this role. Also worthy of mention are Geoff Finney and Lee Anne Hittenberger as the Venticelli, Salieri’s henchmen and his main source of the town gossip. Both clownish and animated, they help keep the audience in the moment, create mischief and generate comedic relief in some of the more tense moments of the play. I found myself, more than once, audibly uttering an emphatic, “There it is!”
Did Salieri’s influence push Mozart over the edge? Is it merely circumstance? Destiny? The work of god? In this play about humanity and forgiveness, isn’t it also at its core, a cautionary tale of jealously, arrogance and deceit? These questions are for you to decide for yourselves.
Bravo, BPA! You hit all the notes, and not one too many!
By Chelsea Madsen