Rehearsal: Day 14
25th June, 2019
Meeting with the Salieris
I met with Clair and Victor to discuss what is our expectation for the two Salieris. I wasn’t entirely certain how this might be achieved … coffee and a chat?, a physical rehearsal?
At the beginning, we began speaking of how separate the two characters were and I outlined that I thought the two characters probably needed to be connected in some way, physically anyway: the younger pushing the elder on stage, perhaps.
I was reminded of the sculpting exercise on The Amadeus Project: Day 8 where Clair and Victor were working together, one sculpting the other, first physically and later from a distance. So too in the relations between the two actors in the two roles could one Salieri influence the other, even from a remove.
Both Salieris would be onstage the entire time, each one at different times being the focus of attention and at others reducing their impact, withdrawing their radiation.
I was sure there would be definite and important interaction between them but was unsure how it would be as each Salieri got into their stride, as it were. But possibly they would weave and interact even then.
Are they two different sides of the same person? To be answered…
Would the use of the two actors be seen as a convenient way of dealing with a large role, and a large cast?
Not a concern of mine, I believe this will work, I have no doubt.
There is an exploration in this process, we will figure it out as we go along. We also talked about a belief that at the very least, all of the actors involved have bought into this process –– that’s the first entirely necessary step.
Dividing the role
Initially I had the idea that Clair, as the elder Salieri, would have all of the first Scene to herself. As I read through the Scene in preparation for this meeting, searching for the meaning, it came to me that this may not be right … it didn’t feel entirely right.
In the reading, Victor suggested taking one of Clair’s lines, that felt good. So, we’re moving now to a process of bringing the text to life in rehearsal … when we will have the right energy and right build-up, that will be the moment to decide on the division of the role.
Step by little step, the threads are unravelled.
By the end, I felt that the two Salieris should use the Monday rehearsal following to determine who takes what line, after the others are finished.
Do the Salieris decide by themselves how they should split those lines?
Do the Venticelli decide themselves?
Nyah!!! not entirely, I think.
But, what I am sure of, when we have warmed up and are ‘in the moment’ a better understanding of the lines will come with the flow of energy.
The richness of the Salieri role is in direct contrast to the cardboard cut-out nature of the smaller roles. We had some discussion about lines being read at rehearsal by an actor who read really well, as if with understanding of the implications behind the lines … makes the play more revealing?
My thought: Keep the cardboard cut-out idea. (Cardboard: stiff, rigid, a pastiche of the character.) Have a stylized version? –– characters representing ‘everywoman / man’.
Other ideas that arose
We had a long discussion on power structures –– society, mediocrity. What is genius? When do we recognize it? When someone tells us? When something has lasted? Why does it last? Because of what we’re told? Who does the telling? The victors in life? The men?
At the time of the Italian Renaissance those in Northern Europe were further advanced in painting techniques, but the Italians were better at getting the message out –– spin? PR?
It seems to me that in our current world where fame, celebrity and fashion have a stranglehold on creativity and the message delivered to the public, that this play is relevant still. Hence my desire to use visual metaphors linking to today’s obsessions –– the actors as their characters posing as the Annie Liebbovitz photo, for example. Would Mozart be Michael Jackson in the late 20th Century?