Friday, December 5, 2008

Play of the Week: Amadeus

Amadeus by Peter Schaffer has had a rather interesting and dynamic life for a play. Though highly regarded from its introduction (it won several Tony's when it premiered on Broadway as well as Academy Awards for the movie version in 1984), Shaffer was never completely satisfied with the play. He has continually reworked and rewritten the script through several different forms over the past 30 years. While old versions of the script may still exist in used-bookstores and on theatre lover's bookcases, only the most current version is allowed to be produced.

This play has a very intriguing portrayal of the Artists Mozart. Rather than just being a incredibly gifted and talented musician, Salieri (the play's narrator and protagonist) tells us of a man who is able to channel the music of God. We see the collapse of Mozart's genius not simply through the jellous plots of Salieri, but because Mozart is so consumed by the music that it eventually kills him from the inside. We watch as Mozart drinks to try to turn off the music he hears in his head.

How many of our famous artist are consumed by what they do so much so that it kills them? Ernest Hemingway was driven to depression in his quest for the perfect sentense and ended up comitting suicide. It is the artist's quest to describe the devine that inspires us and eventually leads to their demise.

Happy Birthday: (December 6) Tom Hulce (b. 1963) & Ira Gershwin (1896-1983)

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