Amadeus is a play written in 1981 by Peter Shaffer. It revolves around the life and times of Wolfgang Amadeus, a famous composer of the late 1700s. The play is inspired by a short play from 1830 by Alexander Pushkin, called Mozart and Salieri. Antonio Salieri, composer and teacher, was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s rival. Another character from this play was Constanze Weber, Mozart’s love interest and wife. Mozart was Weber’s first husband of two. Lastly, another character from the play was Caterina Cavalieri. Cavalieri was a student of Antonio Salieri. She does not have any audible lines in this play, but she does have a speaking role in an adaptation film from 1984, in which she is played by the actress Christine Ebersole.
There are many great scenes in the play Amadeus. One great scene would be the first scene, which opens up with Mozart’s rival, Antonio Salieri, in old age and talking directly to the audience. In this scene, Saleri is seated and engages in very passionate dialogue with the audience. It is in this moment that he reveals an assassination attempt against Mozart. Shortly after, the play goes back to a period where Salieri was much younger and had never met Mozart before. No other characters are every present in this moment. There is a scene right before Salieri talks to the audience, but it feels as though the play begins when he speaks.
Another great scene is where Mozart is frolicking around and lovingly playing with his love Constanze Weber. Mozart is young, and it shows in his demeanor, as the two roll around on the floor exchanging kisses and very adolescent remarks about one another. In this scene, there is a table in the background, and a rug. It would appear that the two are alone in a living room.
There is a lot of satire and comedy in this play, which made it truly enjoyable to watch. The play takes place in the 18th century, and it does a great job of showing the audience exactly what 18th century actions would look like. Every character fulfills their role rather dutifully, not falling short of ensuring that they are to accurately portray what it means to be present in an 18th century setting. I also really enjoyed that Mozart was a gifted composer with a sense of humor. He was young, and he acted young. He knew he was great and had plenty of skill, but he didn’t let it deter him from acting young. Amadeus is a great play about one of the world’s greatest ever composers. I am interested now in watching other adaptations of this play.