BWW Blog: Clarissa Moon - AMADEUS at West Orange High School
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I don't listen to modern music. Because I'm a nerd, I like to listen to classical music, show tunes, and movie scores. So I was extremely excited to see West Orange High School's production of Amadeus.
Amadeus is the story of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's death. Being their competition show, West Orange performed the piece as a one act. I applaud director Ken Rush's cutting of the script. Shortening Amadeus to forty minutes is not an easy task, and he did it well, keeping the essential parts of the plot while still allowing the characters have arcs.
As soon as the play started, I was immediately transported into the classical era with a beautifully simplistic white and gold set. The costumes were stunning, and the wigs were perfect for the time period - gigantic powdered hairstyles and curls. Visually, the play was beautiful - a portrait of the classical era.
As Antonio Salieri, Mozart's rival, Sam Marzella had very smooth transitions. He easily transitioned between being an old man and a young man at the beginning and end of the show. Marzella also smoothly transitioned between different emotions and feelings toward Mozart, eventually amounting to rage and vengefulness.
Matt Guernier's performance as Mozart had a wonderful arc, going from a light-hearted young prodigy to a madman. Guernier brought out comedic moments in the show using distinctive character quirks, such as Mozart's high-pitched laugh. When he was driven to madness, you couldn't help feeling frustrated for him.
Grace Gustino had incredible moments of subtlety in her performance as Constanze Weber, Mozart's wife. Gustino's playful energy with Guernier lit up the stage in the beginning of the play, making her instantly lovable. When her character was faced with a difficult and shameful choice, Gustino's subtle choices spoke volumes - you could see the dread, disgust, and shame all in her face.
The rest of the ensemble, including the four venticellos, worked together to successfully create a busy, gossiping city. They created the atmosphere for the play, setting the tone within seconds.
West Orange High School Theatre will be competing with Amadeus at the District V Thespian Festival this Friday. I wish the entire cast and crew the very best of luck!