Chapel Street Players’ AMADEUS Is Pure Genius

by Lila Achuff
Before I even begin to discuss AMADEUS, by Peter Shaffer, this is what you ought to do for yourself ASAP… call 302.368.2248 at Chapel Street Players in Newark, DE and make reservations to see this play about which I can only gush endlessly. Only two more weekends left to see it! It’s a small theatre so you want to make certain you’re not in SRO!

Members of the cast of CSP's AMADEUS: (L. to R.)David Hastings (Salieri), Timothy Sheridan (Emperor Joseph), Gary Lime (Mozart), (R. Back to front) Ron Ozer (Von Strack), Walt Osborne (Gottfried van Svieten), James A. Simpers (Orsini).

AMADEUS first appeared on the London stage in 1979 followed by the Broadway stage in 1980, and revived on Broadway in 2000. The film version won the Academy Award for Best picture in 1984. Remember that? I’m going to take the liberty of calling AMADEUS a musical (no dancing, no singing, though… it’s Mozart after all) historical fiction as Peter Shaffer chose to have his way with the story surrounding the real life characters of Antonio Salieri (David Hastings) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Gary Lime).

What a way for Chapel Street to begin its 76th season as, in my opinion, the Chapel Street version of AMADEUS just blew me away. It was perfection itself (well, almost) in stage sets (the actors themselves handled them effortlessly), costumes, lighting and sounds that seemed genuine (and very frightening at times – like surround sound!).

This is what you’ll miss if, sadly, you don’t get to see it:

Time: Back and forth between early 18th century and late 17th century
Place: Vienna
Main Characters: Salieri and Amadeus (If there were awards to earn for Best Actor, I would reward both of them),
with a very talented supporting cast.

We first find Salieri, the narrator, as an aging man about to meet his maker. He shares with the audience that, throughout his life, Amadeus was his constant nemesis as he himself always wished to become a great composer. While Amadeus continues to display his rude, crude and arrogant (and, most often, witty and silly) self, Salieri continually includes God in his soliloquies as he was railing against Him for appearing to favor Amadeus. The success of Amadeus appeared to occur with little effort on his part while Salieri’s desire to reach fame resembled a “cat and mouse” game that always left him in a state of never-ending jealousy toward Amadeus. He tried to destroy Amadeus’ career and, in the process, even Amadeus himself.

How Salieri wove in and out of time, from old age to his younger days, was simply mind-boggling. His pathetic, sometimes even comical, personality was no match for the wit, humor and entertaining behavior of young Amadeus. The interaction between the two main characters never failed to leave us on a smooth, but sometimes emotionally painful, course. In fact, it was almost exhausting for me to understand how they could even remember all the lines!

Brian Touchette, as Director of AMADEUS you truly outdid yourself in this endeavor. Brian, David and Gary, professionally speaking, please go nowhere without keeping me informed of your future performances so that I would never miss even one! Call me! Hastings and Lime performed as if the personalities and body images of Salieri and Amadeus truly belonged to them. And, by the way, you do not have to be a fan of Mozart’s music to enjoy this play. I felt very fortunate to have experienced AMADEUS with the Chapel Street Players.

I’d like to point out that in the “Who’s Who” section of the playbill, the only comment after Gary Lime’s name is that he is a Pisces. I might be missing something here as I am not into astrology, but here’s my interpretation of that: Judge me in the here and now for this role only as no other performance of mine pertains to this one. That’s confidence! Am I on, Gary, or not even close?

Till the next show…

by Peter Schaffer
Directed by Brian Touchette
September 24- October 9, 2010

The Chapel Street Players
27 N. Chapel Street
Newark, DE

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