Sunday 21 February 2016

To play Salieri

Yesterday, my wife and I went to see Amadeus on stage, which I had been impatient to finally see. We really enjoyed our evening. Unfortunately the actor playing Antonio Salieri had been taken ill, so was replaced at the last minute by the stage director, who played pretty well, all things considered, even though he had to read the lines. In spite of this, it was tremendously enjoyable. The text by Peter Shaffer lifts everything, even the technical difficulties. Interestingly and fittingly enough, we have recently discovered a new piece of music by Mozart, written in collaboration with... Salieri, which set a new light on their reports and challenges the legend as depicted by the play.

All the same, the legend, especially depicted in such a way, is worthy in its own right. The mediocre but successful court composer able to see true musical genius, while unable to attain it, seemingly shun by a god to whom he was devoted, this speaks to all of us. And watching the play, I started feeling a certain jealousy myself, which is often how I feel when I see a play, great or small, played by professionals or amateurs. I have dabbled into acting myself, but as a amateur. Amadeus is one of my favourite text, and seeing it on stage and listening to it, I started wondering how I would have played Salieri, given the chance. And I know I am an amateur, albeit I do think I have some natural talents for acting, but I think given the time and work I could pull off a decent performance as Salieri. I think I could find my voice as Salieri and the voice would open. Partially because I have started to know the text fairly well, because I have been fascinated by the character for decades now, but also because I know I have played in the past nasty and bitter characters with ease. And you can't have more bitter than Salieri. So if I can ever go on stage one day, this is the play and role I want to perform.


jaz@octoberfarm said...

i love the movie and have watched it many times.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

When I first saw the movie, I was young of course. I didn't like how the playwright was forcing us to identify with Salieri and his mediocrity. Now I'm much older, of course, and understand perfectly well why we are all Salieri.

I'm glad you enjoyed the stage performance. I hope you DO get to play Salieri some day!