In accordance with the University's closure due to coronavirus mitigation efforts, all performances of Amadeus have been cancelled. For ticket refunds, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will present Amadeus, the landmark, Tony-winning play by Peter Shaffer, April 3-18 at Drayton Hall Theatre.
Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with additional 3 p.m. matinee performances on April 5, 11 and 18. There is no performance on April 12 (Easter Sunday). Tickets for the production are $15 for students, $20 for USC faculty/staff, military personnel and seniors (60+), and $22 for the general public. Tickets are available anytime online at theatre.sc.edu or can be purchased in person at the main box office located at Longstreet Theatre beginning Friday, March 27. The main box office phone number is 803-777-2551. Box office hours are 12:30 - 5:30pm, Monday - Friday. Drayton Hall Theatre is located at 1214 College St.
Peter Shaffer once referred to his critically acclaimed story of jealousy, ambition, and divine genius as “a fantasia on the theme of Mozart and Salieri.” In Shaffer’s fictionalized history, successful composer Antonio Salieri recounts how he became intrigued by his genius contemporary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, then quickly irritated by the young composer’s obscene immaturity. As Salieri’s disgust turns to bitter resentment, he begins to question a God who would bestow heavenly gifts on someone so unworthy, and sets out to destroy Mozart’s career. Amadeus received the Tony Award for best play in 1981. Its screen adaptation, also written by Shaffer, won the Academy Award for best picture in 1985.
“If Mr. Shaffer shatters the audience’s idealized illusions about the title character, he then goes on to smash our romantic illusions about ourselves.” --
The New York Times
The theatre program has welcomed guest artist Ian Frank to direct the production. Based in Chicago, Frank is a professional stage director, composer, adapter and teacher, and serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Chicago’s acclaimed Remy Bumppo Theatre Company.
“If you think you know this story from the movie, you don’t,” Frank says. “The film is very playful in a lot of places, where the play is actually darker and nastier. It’s a suspense thriller.”
Shaffer’s script spotlights Mozart’s genius from the jealous perspective of his contemporary, Salieri. Amid swirling public rumors that Salieri actually poisoned his rival, and on the heels of his own demise, Salieri presents the audience with a tragic story he sardonically calls “The Death of Mozart – Or, Did I Do It?”
“Salieri is a really interesting character to me because he is us,” Frank says. “We all can identify with the insecurity, self-doubt and self-disgust that he has about himself. He is worth listening to, and not just dismissing as a villain obsessed with revenge, because he’s actually trying to figure out a more existential question – why was he blessed with the knowledge to see genius, but not share in it?”
“If history is written by the winners, maybe we should look more closely at the villains,” Frank adds. “They might have something to say that hasn’t been heard before.”
The director describes the production as “fast-paced and highly physical,” incorporating a large ensemble of actors who help to whisk the audience through time and place during a tumultuous period of Mozart’s life and career.
“The world of the play is presented through Salieri’s curated version of the ten years he spent in Vienna with Mozart,” he says, “so it’s a world of memories that jumps quickly from place to place and moment to moment. It’s very fluid and dynamic, and should be a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end.”
“If history is written by the winners, maybe we should look more closely at the villains.”
A cast of thirteen university students will bring that world to life, including graduate actors Tim Giles (as Mozart), Gabe Reitemeier (as Salieri) and Jennifer Moody-Sanchez (as Mozart’s wife Constanze), along with undergraduate actors Sydni Brown, Asaru Buffalo, Anthony Currie, Marilyn Guy, Lilly Heidari, Elijah Jones, Liv Matthews, Jordan Postal, Alex Robinson and Susan Swavely. Designers of the production are professor Nic Ularu (scenic), graduate students Tyler Omundsen (lighting), Campbell Childers and Heather Gonzalez (costume co-designers), and guest designer Danielle Wilson (sound).
“The real heart of this play is a character trying to break through to find out the truth,” Frank says. “If God exists, does he care, and what’s the use of being good? That’s what ultimately drives him to do what he does.”
“It will be shocking, not just because shocking things happen in the play, but because the end of the play is not the movie – it’s actually more visceral in terms of what the audience experiences. If we do it the way I hope we do it, I think it’s going to blow your mind.”
For more information about Amadeus or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at email@example.com.