By Megan Platt
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the Chicago College of Performing Arts put on three spectacular performances of Peter Shaffer’s captivating play, “Amadeus.”
The performances took place on the seventh floor of the Auditorium Building in the Patrick O’Malley Theatre, a well-hidden Roosevelt University gem. Inside the theater, audience members walked right through the set to get to the seating, intimately surrounding the stage.
The story of “Amadeus” exposes the desperate rivalry between two composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by James Romney, and Antonio Salieri, played by Javier Ferreira.
Salieri, overcome by jealousy for his younger counterpart, reminisces throughout the play, telling his story to the audience as an old man. He recalls Mozart as obnoxious and ill mannered, but also as the single greatest composer of all time.
However, when the prestigious Emperor Joseph II, played by Patrick Wilborn, insists that Mozart uses too many notes in his music, Salieri nods in agreement, hiding his true feelings in order to bring Mozart’s career to an end.
“‘Amadeus’ is ultimately not about classical music, Salieri or even Mozart,” Director John Gawlik explained. “Instead, it explores the more universal themes of artistic ambition and desire.”
Though Mozart’s death is tragic, it is Salieri, the anti-hero, to whom many can relate.
“What I love is Shaffer’s incredibly compassionate portrait of this anti hero,” Gawlik said. “Again, ask yourself, ‘Haven’t we all been Salieri at some point in our lives?’”
Upholding themes of overwhelming jealousy and adultery mixed with jabs of humor, Ferreira as Salieri was exceptionally brilliant. He magnificently captured the spite inside of Salieri while also enticing the audience to sympathize and care for his character.
The CCPA’s next performance at the Patrick O’Malley Theatre will be “The Suicide” by Nikolai Erdman. It will run March 21-23.