In the fall of 2006, I saw Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus performed at Wilton’s Music Hall in London, directed by John Doyle and starring Matthew Kelly as Salieri. The space alone gave me chills. The oldest music hall left in the world, still largely unrenovated for lack of money; it only reopened in the 1990s. Exposed brick and plumbing, small, weirdly shaped rooms, peeling paint, gorgeous ceilings: I would go there again just to watch someone do laundry, it’s that exciting a space to be in.
The staging was absolutely magical and innovative and there was no weak member of the cast. Kelly was phenomenal — his facial expressions alone could have carried the play and scared you and made you cry. The lighting was so simple but so effective, using shadow and the small space to such great results. I still can’t describe it properly.
Later that year I read Shaffer’s notes at the front of the most recent edition of the play, and I was astounded by how many rewrites he had done of Amadeus during productions, after productions, over and over — and he still is eager to do more. It was the most reassuring thing I had ever read, that the writer of the play that had just blown my mind still considered it unfinished. It still is.
Theresa Giacopasi graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dramatic Writing. Her plays have appeared in festivals produced by the Brown Couch Theatre Company, Universal Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, and the Union Hall Drama Club, among others. She works by day as a book publicist.