Amadeus

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 9367 8719 or oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on Mends Street, South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel.