If, like me, you remember the 1984 film “Amadeus” with some fondness—weren’t Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham absolutely brilliant in their roles as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and rival composer Antonio Salieri?—then you’ll want to take note of the National Theatre’s spectacular production of the eponymous play on which the movie was based. It’s showing at the Liberty Theatre in downtown Camas at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, and again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
In case you missed the 1984 movie, or have never seen the play, which was written by Peter Shaffer and originally performed in 1979—and which, in turn, was based on a short 1830 play by Alexander Pushkin called “Mozart and Salieri”—the National Theatre’s production is a splendid introduction to this story that has captivated generation after generation of viewers. (In fact, Pushkin’s play was eventually used as the basis for an 1897 operetta by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.) But labyrinthine iterations aside, you’ll be enchanted not just by the story but also by the richly costumed actors and beautifully imagined sets. As for the plot, it’s simple but compelling: Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives in Vienna, the music capital of the world, and he’s determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy his name. Seized by obsessive jealousy, Salieri begins a war with Mozart…with music…and, ultimately, with God.
Tickets are $18.50 general admission or $15 for students and seniors. The play, which is specially adapted for cinematic viewing, will be shown in the Liberty Theatre’s Granada Studio. The Liberty Theatre is located at 315 N.E. 4th Ave. in downtown Camas. For more details, visit www.camasliberty.com.
Above image: detail from publicity photo by Marc Brenner