Backstage Theatre: Amadeus Insanity

Spot the Costume Manager…

Image Credit: Katie Goodsell
Spot the Costume Manager…

Reminiscing hectic times is rather glorious – reminiscing being the operative word. From the safety of a few months distance, I can happily think of the sleepless experience that was costuming a professional production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. A snippit from my ‘Amadeus’ preview written for Razz My Berries is a rather worrying demonstration of my mental state in February – there’s nothing quite like rambling prose, block capitals and extensive (and lucratively placed) punctuation to express madness…

…there’s one person who can picture exactly what it will look like in full costume. Razz’s own Creative Editor is moonlighting as the Amadeus Costume Manager! So we thought we’d see what she had to say…

Since November of 2012, the Costume team and I have been spending sleepless nights thinking of the rivalling composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri who dominate Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’. We wake up in terrible 3am sweat with images of Salieri’s six-foot figure looming, Mozart’s shrill laughter, or most common of all, thinking with a costume team’s despair: “Why, did they have to wear WIGS??” As with all daring projects, such insomnia-producing madness lies dangerously close to their core, and with a twenty seven strong cast, live music, Choral Society choir dances and late 17th century Opera scenes, most would call EUTCo’s ‘Amadeus’ such. From a production point of view, it is a tightly run ship of organisational wonder: Tech, Sound and Lighting, Publicity, Directors, Producers, Costumes, Props and not to mention, actors push our crew numbers to above fifty, and let me tell you, co-ordination is no walk in the park.

Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor George Watkins: Salieri
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor Ryan Whittle: Mozart
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Left to right: Whittle, Owenbridge, Rix, Smith
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor Ryan Whittle: Mozart
Image Credit: Joshua L. Irwandi
Actor George Watkins: Salieri

Yet what makes a challenge such as this worth the stress, time, effort and moments of insanity, is just ten minutes in Director Josh Lucas and his cast’s creation of 18th century Vienna. Shown through Salieri’s gripping tale of intense religious devotion, craving for musical inspiration, and desperation of a composer in the Venetian court, is the complicated intertwining of the everyday and the divine. Watkins’ performance is filled with powerful, engaging jealousy; Whittle’s brilliantly charming Mozart is childish and dangerous; Constanze’s (Felicity Cant) devotion to Mozart both delicate and overwhelmingly raw. Last week’s run through of the play left me heart pounding and with a burning adrenaline for the opening night. There could be no other way to end this post other than: go see it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

6th-9th February 2013 (inclusive), 7.30pm at Exeter Northcott Theatre | Student ticket £8, Adult ticket £14.

In the end, the team produced two costumed trailers under the direction of Charlie Paddock alongside two weeks of costumed rehearsals and alteration time on a student budget coming in at (if I may say so myself) a ground-breaking £725. My friends tell me I sounded like a worn out track of Falco and learned to tactically avoid me on skype to save the horrible sounds of Amadeus griping on repeat.

I’m genuinely surprised I survived.

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My awesome Costume Team in full regalia.

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TRAILERS

“What do you think, Salieri?”

“Dance, dance, dance.”

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