July 26, 2017

Amadeus – An Innovative, Interactive Production

Abigail Erdelatz '18, Daniel Lefferts '18, Drew Cleveland '17. Photo by Michaela Todd

by Emily Romero ‘20

Contributor

The cast and crew of Amadeus crafted a fascinating show that brought to life the excruciating questions humanity perpetually asks itself. The classic theme of “God versus Man” is evident in the Antonio Salieri’s rise to fame and glory, which leads to the demise of Amadeus Mozart.

The immersiveness of the show was radical as it invited the audience to be part of the telling Salieri’s story. The Black Box Theatre was transformed into the eighteenth-century Austrian court, with four rectangular platforms pushed against each wall. This created empty space at the center of the theatre, allowing performer and audience member alike to move freely about. If an audience member were to tire from standing, however, a few seats skirted the corners of the theatre for the ‘weak-of-foot.’

Director Jeff Miller explained his vision for Amadeus and said, “We have a lot of depth in the cast, so it’s just been terrific. [It’s] inspiring, challenging and staged in a way that not done normally, so that offered a lot of other challenges. We have a great team working on design; scenic design, lighting design, costume design, sound. We had a really great team.”

Juice Wacker ’18, Nick Blondell ’19, Carl Kraines ’18. Photo by Michaela Todd

Drew Cleveland ‘17 played the protagonist, Antonio Salieri. “It was a really unique delight to be able to exude that much energy on stage, night after night, even though it’s exhausting. It’s something deeply kind of cathartic and rewarding about it, which I really appreciate as an actor and as a person too.”

While holding the stage most of the night, his endurance and ability to reach into the soul of this character was truly spectacular. Having the opportunity to witness this performance in such close proximity allowed the audience to feel emotions in ways they would not normally experience in perhaps a more traditional theatre space.

Abigail Eredeltz ‘18, playing the supporting role of Constanze Mozart, said, “This was such a unique show for Gordon to do. Not only because some of the subject matter is a little darker than I feel like a lot of our shows have been, but because of the immersive nature of it. It is so daring for Jeff to try something like that, which we’ve never done before, and I think audiences are getting a really new way to experience theatre.”

Olivia Neal ’20 and Daniel Lefferts ’18. Photo by Michaela Todd

Daniel Lefferts ‘18, playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, said the intentionality of the immersive theatre bolstered the connection between the audience and his character. He said, “To just own the stage with people so close is a once in a lifetime kind of experience to go through, such an emotional rollercoaster with people two feet away from me, connecting with me, and giving everything I’ve got. It’s been… life changing.”

Lefferts’ performance demonstrated an ability to get in touch with his character at a tireless pace.

The Amadeus cast and crew, overall, masterfully conveyed a dark message properly and sensitively.

 

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