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Curtain up for school Mozart thriller

PUBLISHED: 16:05 01 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

IT'S set to be their most challenging production yet, and everyone involved is relishing the chance to take part.

Young actors and actresses at Felixstowe's Deben High School cannot wait for curtain up tonight as they present Peter Shaffer's award-winning play Amadeus about the life of composer Mozart.

IT IS set to be their most challenging production yet, and everyone involved is relishing the chance to take part.

Young actors and actresses at Felixstowe's Deben High School cannot wait for curtain up tonight as they present Peter Shaffer's award-winning play Amadeus, about the life and death of composer Mozart.

Parents have been advised that the play is not suitable for under-14s because of strong language.

Assistant headteacher Beverley Boyce said the play was probably the most challenging the school had done.

"The students are rising to the challenge as well and I'm sure parents are going to be thrilled with the production," said Miss Boyce.

"We usually do a lighter show one year – such as last year, when we did Grease – and then the following year something much more challenging.

"There is a real mixture of ages among those taking part, from year eight through to the sixth form, and some very talented students as well. Some of them are studying performing arts and some GCSE drama."

Pupils are also working back-stage, with a group of year eight, nine and ten students providing the technical team.

Shaffer described Amadeus, which became an Oscar-winning film in the 1980s, as "a fantasia of the life of Mozart".

The play takes the legend that Mozart, who lived from 1756 to 1791, was poisoned by a rival composer, Antonio Salieri.

In the play, Salieri, a relatively moral and highly-regarded court musician, cannot live with the fact that God had given him the power to appreciate the greatest music but had chosen such a horror as the vulgar Mozart to write it.

Historians, though, say Mozart died from a feverish illness, the precise nature of which was not known – but he was not poisoned.

The Deben High students – who are presenting the play in the upper hall of the school in Garrison Lane for three nights – have been discouraged from seeing the film.

Miss Boyce said: "We prefer them to work out their own interpretation from the script. That makes it much fresher and helps them in their understanding of how to portray character, encouraging their thinking and creating.

"This production is not a copy of the film because that would have no value at all."

Playing the role of Salieri is Year 14 student Graham Cockburn, who hopes to study performing arts at university and become an actor.

Miss Boyce said he was the most talented young actor she had come across in her teaching career.

Mozart is played by Craig Morton, another talented young actor, from Year 11.

Costumes, props and furniture are in keeping with the 18th century in which the play is set, but a modern staging has been chosen to create an intimate atmosphere for the audience.


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