Written by 10:51 pm fullerton, Maverick Theatre

Amadeus @ Maverick Theater in Fullerton – Review

(photo credit: Austin Bauman)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson

For a historical figure whose name has become synonymous with class, intelligence, and sophistication (play his music for your baby IN THE WOMB to boost cognitive ability!) Mozart is actually not someone I know very much about. Even if, at one point, I read about him at school, I simply have never thought or talked about him enough to have any mental image of him as a person beyond “That European guy in the wig who wrote a bunch of music.” That changed with this play. The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton is putting on “Amadeus.” Although some things may have been fictionalized (I will not cite specifics in case Wikipedia betrayed me), the work humanized Mozart and his contemporaries in thought-provoking, alarming, and entertaining ways.

Story:

The story is told retrospectively by musician Antonio Salieri. The elderly Salieri is making his confession to a priest. The conversation turns to music, and Salieri begins reminiscing about his days as an esteemed court composer to Emperor Joseph II. Things changed for Salieri when the famed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came to court. Before long, Salieri has ascertained that Mozart’s talent must be divinely given—and this assertion prompts Salieri’s envy and resentment to grow with every passing day.

Direction:

This is a very well-written play. There are many scenes in which Mozart (played by Jaycob Hunter) behaves as a quirky, impulsive, and un-poised genius. I am prepared to bet money that upon meeting him, people today would immediately want him assessed for neuro-divergency. One of the fun things about this story is the simple fact of the potentially unreliable narrator, Salieri. Was Mozart really that uncouth and juvenile? Or did Salieri (the elder, played by Glenn Freeze, and the younger, played by Justyn Gonzalez) exaggerate Mozart’s moments of crassness out of his ever-increasing jealousy and spite? Regardless, seeing an actual personality matched to the beatific compositions most people have at least a passing familiarity with is a treat.

Before I abandon this topic, it should be mentioned that this also applies to Mozart’s relationship with his wife Constanze (played by Samantha Green). I enjoyed watching these two interact because they were goofy and ridiculous. Forget about historical figures. I don’t think many modern couples are portrayed this way today. People are weird in their relationships, people are strange, and regardless of whether you as an audience member enjoy watching this particular couple hang out in private, there is no denying the authenticity of this couple—someone out there is acting like this. Right now. And talented people can be bizarre and unpolished. All of these are fascinating and much-appreciated components of the story.

Acting:

Every ounce of Mozart’s peculiarities, passions, and vulnerabilities were on full display in the best possible way. Everyone in the top-four billed actors did a great job. Glenn Freeze (Salieri), Samantha Green (Constanze Mozart), and Justyn Gonzalez (Young Salieri) were all very pleasing to watch, as were most of the ensemble.

Overall:

It’s a great story performed here by a good, occasionally great cast. This is not a short story (Act 1 is 50 minutes, and Act 2 is 65 minutes), but take a nap, maybe drink some coffee, and you’ll be ready. Come watch this stimulating, humorous, and startling glimpse into Mozart.

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Good Show! OCR Recommended! February 16 – March 23, 2024.

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