WOLFGANG Amadeus Mozart was arguably one of the world’s greatest composers – and his life is coming to the Old Mill Theatre stage this June.
Written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Vanessa Jensen, Amadeus is a powerful drama exploring the relationship between court composer Antonio Salieri and Mozart, the rising star of the composing world.
Shaffer took the known rivalry of the two composers, built on it and then twisted it to create the play, which won a Tony Award in 1981.
He later adapted it into a film, winning an Academy Award for best picture.
Jensen said she was attracted to the play for its sheer power.
“Just reading the opening scene alone is enough to make you want to direct it,” she said.
“The play springs off the page and you can hear it – it’s so well-written, tightly scripted, intelligent, funny, dramatic, moving and thought-provoking.
“Not all music historians like Shaffer's treatment of Mozart, nor of Salieri, but dramatically it’s a brilliant piece of writing.
“He created an intelligent storyline that is superb.”
Jensen has a wealth of theatre experience behind her, after first appearing on stage as an eight-year-old and directing her first show at 14.
She wrote, directed, stage managed and acted in various shows at Curtin University’s Hayman Theatre over a four-year period and has staged several successful productions at the Old Mill and Melville Theatres, including The Venetian Twins, Three Tall Women, Pride and Prejudice, Away and her own award-winning script Jamie’s Chooks.
Away also won Jensen the Constance Ord Award for directing at the inaugural Old Mill Theatre awards late last year.
With Amadeus, she says the main challenge was getting a good, strong cast together, many of whom play silent roles.
“They are classical music enthusiasts who have their own views on what happened to Mozart and how he should be portrayed, which is not always in line with how Shaffer portrays him in the script,” Jensen said.
“Not only do the cast play characters who existed, albeit some time ago, but they are also roles played by leading actors in the Academy Award-winning film.
“Comparisons are inevitable but the play is not the same as the film – I think it’s far superior.”
Amadeus plays at 8pm, June 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18 with a 2pm matinee on June 12.
Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on (08) 9367 8719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on Mends Street, South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel.
amadeus1: Eliot McCann as Salieri, Grace Edwards as Constanze and Daniel Kershaw as Mozart in Amadeus.
amadeus2: Amadeus explores the rivalry between the composers Mozart (Daniel Kershaw) and Salieri (Eliot McCann).
amadeus3: Salieri (Eliot McCann, left) is envious of Mozart (Daniel Kershaw) and his talents in Amadeus while Mozart’s wife Constanze (Grace Edwards) looks on.
amadeus-director: Director Vanessa Jensen with the some of the Amadeus cast: Daniel Kershaw, Jason Dohle, Grace Edwards and Eliot McCann.
Old Mill Theatre
South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.
The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.
A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.
The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
P: 0413 079 146