Dohyun Gracia Shin
[Theatre Review] Amadeus 본문
[Theatre Review] AmadeusGracia Shin 2018. 3. 23. 11:30
Amadeus. Book by Peter Shaffer. Directed by Gina Lee. Gwanglim Art Centre, Seoul, Korea. 22 November 2017 ~ 3 December 2017.
Director Gina Lee, who has been focusing on the theme of the theatre and homoeroticism, has staged Peter Shaffer’s well-known play, Amadeus in Seoul, Korea (2018). In this version of Amadeus, she seems to integrate Shaffer’s Amadeus into her interest in theatre and homoeroticism. Here, she meticulously traces the dynamics between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri in the view of portraying Salieri’s desire of Mozart as a cathexis, playing with the liminality of the protagonist and antagonist on the stage.
Director Lee portrays characters’ homoerotic dramatic action in a way that Salieri fetishizes Mozart as a cathexis of his desire for his musical exploit. In Lee’s Amadeus, Salieri keeps coveting Mozart as Salieri the glutton in Shaffer’s Amadeus craves for the sweet. After he takes control of the right of Mozart’s scores, he savours the moment caressing the piano which Mozart has been playing as if he has taken control of Mozart himself. It is also impressive that when Salieri collaborates with Mozart, Lee sets levelation between two so that Salieri creeps on the floor around Mozart who is sitting on the piano, looking up to him and desperately yearning for him. Then in the scene where Salieri forces Mozart to forgive him, Lee makes Salieri raid behind Mozart, clinging to his back and literally devouring Mozart’s scores (or even devouring Mozart). This raiding scene is so aggressive and violating that it almost seems that Mozart is raped by Salieri, which reminds of the last scene from The Pride (by Alexi Kaye Campbell, staged in Seoul) where Philip rapes Oliver. However, since Salieri is the only character who is vocal to commentate on the dramatic actions, he justifies his actions, inviting the audience to empathise his actions inflicted on Mozart. As above, by staging the dramatic actions focused on two main characters and focalising the actions through the narrator Salieri’s perspective, director Lee complexes the foil relationship between Mozart and Salieri. She not only contrasts Mozart in the absolute white and Salieri in the absolute black but also blurs the boundary between the victimised and the inflictor, playing with the liminality of the protagonist and the antagonist on the stage.
However, it is questionable whether BBCH Hall of Gwanglim Art Centre was the apropos choice for her Amadeus. It may well suit when she displays her talent of composing felicitous mise-en-scene (especially in the scenes that show some traces of the musical genre). She stages the scene extravaganza with an effective use of ensemble, representing the levelation and dynamics among the characters. This use of spacious extravaganza works as a shortcoming when it comes to intensive interactions among the characters, failing to elucidate the bare margin of space on the stage, which does not support the dramatic action of the characters. This also goes with Director Lee’s style of composing mise-en-scene. Her mise-en-scene compositions have been worked beautifully as each concluded scenes. It is effective and powerful as she demonstrated in her musical Seopyeonje, which reminded of the sophisticated piece of ink painting, or Kingdom of Winds, which was acclaimed to compose of the energetic mise-en-scene with the power of ensemble on the minimalistic bare stage. It seems that her strength does not create a huge synergy with Shaffer’s Amadeus, losing a trace of a tightly interconnected text.
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