Sunday, April 04, 2004

Amadeus Wow, we attended the 2004 season


Wow, we attended the 2004 season opener at the local HART Theater last night *Waynesville, NC) and it sure was a treat to watch! We were on the front row for the first time. We usually sit near the back. It was very different being that close. I really got into watching the actors act, rather than taking in the whole play as one big scene. It was fascinating.

HART Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre

Steven Lloyd, HART's Executive Director plays Antonio Salieri and a youngster named Michael Ackerman is Amadeus Mozart. We also enjoyed seeing our new friend Mark Mounce (who played the King in The King and I), as one of The "Venticelli".

Here's a brief entry by Steve from HART's website about the play:

HARTBeat: Spring 2004 Newsletter

Backstage by Steven Lloyd
I get to step on stage again in our next production, the celebrated Broadway play, “Amadeus,” by Peter Schaffer, taking on one of the theatre’s greatest characters. Antonio Salieri may well be remembered because of this play. In the late eighteenth century, Salieri was one of Europe’s most famed composers. He died in 1823, at the height of Beethoven’s creativity, and was a court composer under Emperor Joseph II of Austria. By the end of his life, he had watched his work fall out of favor, and an obscure rival’s take his place. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had died nearly forty years earlier, a pauper who could not get his work produced. In the last years of Salieri’s life, his fame a faded memory, Salieri astonished the world by claiming that he had murdered Mozart.

Mozart had died young and impoverished. He could get no commissions, and he was buried in a mass pauper’s grave after alienating virtually everyone around him. In his youth, he had been the child prodigy of Europe, playing before kings and writing his first major works as a small child. How and why did he fall so far while creating his greatest works? And why would Salieri have wanted to see that fall occur?

This is the story of “Amadeus.” It is the story of a man who declares war on God and the consequences of that war. The play has won virtually every award there is, had two Broadway runs, and been turned into an Oscar-winning Best Picture. Salieri has been performed by Paul Schofield, Ian McKellan, Martin Sheen, and F. Murray Abraham, Mozart has been played by Tom Hulce and Tim Curry, among others. It is a big, glorious production, and may be the most elaborate play we have ever had as a season opener. Look for elaborate costumes and sets to match. It is filled with music, although not a musical, and will draw you into not only the life, but the work of these extraordinary characters.

A very different side of Peter Shaffer will appear later in the season in “Comic Turns” when we present his hit “Black Comedy.” The connections to the playwright continue with Shaffer’s other works: “Equus” and “Lettice and Lovage.” HART produced “Lettice and Lovage” back in 1996, and Michael Ackerman, who is playing our Mozart, starred in the UNC-A production of “Equus” recently. Many of you may also remember Michael for his performance in “Rope” last season as well.

“Amadeus” is being directed by Bernie Hauserman, who also oversaw “The Price” last season, and the cast includes Casey Dupree, Melanie Allen, Mark Mounce, John Winfield, Tom Gregory, Tom Dewees, John Gould, Jack Ross, Arthur Clevenger, Bob Baldridge, Tyler Ross, Joanne Gregory, Leanna Jones, Ley Bellows, Lizz Wood and Jessica Howell. A slight warning – Mozart is a rather naughty character and he pops out with some rather vulgar phrases to contrast with the lovely music, so be prepared. He is, as Salieri would say, a filthy creature.

I'm really enjoying the plays put on by this theater. Steve Lloyd is a remarkable force and this was the first time I got to see him on stage. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. Me, a play goer. Who da ever thunk?



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