Written for the programme of our 2016 production of Amadeus, shared February 2016.
In exactly two weeks from the moment in which I am writing this, the cast of Amadeus will have just stepped onstage for their final performance. It is hard not to count the days (the hours!) until that moment: perhaps my students are looking towards it with fear, or happiness, or trepidation, or relief, or even desperation! It’s hard to tell — though I’d guess at a mix of all five! — but for myself it seems to approach all too quickly and I can feel in the pit of my stomach a great deal of excitement, but also a little sadness. Because although I have no doubt it will be an extraordinary moment, it will be the end of something even more extraordinary.
Over the past six months I have watched five young people transform themselves into some of the most brilliantly written characters of the twentieth century; I have seen them struggle and triumph; I have witnessed ideas I could never have imagined, made manifest before me; I have heard young voices transformed into entirely new beings; I have been made speechless by astonishing performances conjured at the eleventh hour of our rehearsing day; I have been delighted by our wonderful supporting cast who slipped so easily into our schedule and into their roles. And what you, our audience, will see before you on that stage are but the very final moments of an immense piece of work.
On the evening of our last performance, I don’t know where I will be: maybe backstage passing manuscripts to the Venticelli, maybe in the balcony with a video camera, maybe just behind the curtain with that prompting script in hand, but almost certainly not with you, in the seats, seeing the play as it is intended to be seen. Some of the cast have even voiced their disappointment at not being able to see the play themselves, and yes, there is a strange irony about never seeing for yourself the thing you have created.
But I would not trade what I have seen for a hundred times what you will see, and it is with the utmost admiration and respect I turn the lights upon Angelica, Geneva, India, Jasper & Sophie — a most glorious band of players; a most extraordinary group of people.