Theatre students stage ‘Amadeus’

February 23, 2009

The latest McDaniel College Theatre production, “Amadeus,” drives home a simple, but elusive, message: Covet not thy neighbor – but if you do, be careful what you ask for.

“Amadeus,” which is open to the public, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 4-7 in WMC Alumni Hall. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. To contact the box office, call 410-857-2448.

In this funny and intriguing production, about two dozen McDaniel students immerse themselves in a story that chronicles composer Antonio Salieri’s struggles with the growing genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The cast explores the complicated relationship that develops between the budding musical genius, Mozart, and his would-be mentor, Salieri, who struggles with his disappointment that God would bestow such awesome musical ability on a man like Mozart but not himself.

“It’s all about vengeance and jealousy,” said Andrew Tucker, a junior Theatre and English major who portrays Salieri in this production. “But there’s a part of Salieri that really does like Mozart.”

Director Gené Fouché, a McDaniel adjunct lecturer and associate artistic director for the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, describes “Amadeus” as a period piece done in “very contemporary language.”

To give audiences the best view possible of the stage at all times, the director is taking the unusual step of presenting the production on a raised platform that hovers about 12 feet off the ground. To aid this arrangement, only balcony seating is available during the performance.

Fouché said she has spent several weeks in rehearsals with the students for this production that examines the effects of success and failure, the search for spirituality and the mysterious events surrounding Mozart’s death.

“There has been a lot of research into the history of this time,” she said. “These events take place amid the French Revolution and that has given us a lot of history to explore.”

Salieri, an accomplished composer in Vienna who regards himself as a pious and graceful gentleman, marvels at Mozart’s talent but bristles at the younger musician’s irreverent, even boorish, nature. Salieri struggles as he repeatedly attempts to undermine Mozart’s certain success, while reconciling within himself that he respects Mozart’s inherent talent.

“There’s respect for one another, but at the same time there is this underlying animosity,” Fouché said. “Salieri was keeping Mozart from getting posts he needed, while Mozart was falling further and further into debt.”

(from left): Katie Ridgeway, Colleen Alford, Maggie Powell, Brittany Robinson

(from left): Mike Pfeiffer, Sydney Thro, Katie Ridgeway, Maggie Powell, Brittany Robinson.