“Revolving It All”: Weaves of Memory in Amadeus and Footfalls

  • Teemu Paavolainen
Chapter
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)

Abstract

The only chapter to engage with specific plays or performances at any length, Thread 4 zooms in on the fine textures of dramaturgy in performance, on the unlikely coupling of Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls (1976) and Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1979). Formally akin in staging a monological but widely textured weaving of memory, the two exemplify not only the theatrical tendencies to emptiness and excess, but also the dynamics of performativity, both aesthetically (Beckettian repetition) and thematically (novelty and normativity in the guise of genius and mediocrity). Apart from the texts themselves, the chapter addresses some habitual patterns of criticism—often dismissing Shaffer’s theatricality while embracing Beckett’s—and such staples of the theatrical as witnessing, narration, and the play within the play. The theoretical argument is for an easy intertwining between the there of performative absorption and the aside of theatrical distance: the first person and the third, the memory and the monologue.

References

  1. Abrams, M.H. 1958. The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Asmus, Walter D. 1977. Rehearsal Notes for the German Premiere of Beckett’s That Time and Footfalls at the Schiller Theater Werkstatt, Berlin (Directed by Beckett). Translated by Helen Watanabe. Journal of Beckett Studies 2: 83–95. http://www.english.fsu.edu/jobs/num02/Num2WalterAsmus.htm.
  3. Austin, J.L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words: The William James Lectures Delivered at Harvard University in 1955. Edited by J.O. Urmson. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  4. Barba, Eugenio. 2010. On Directing and Dramaturgy: Burning the House. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Barish, Jonas. 1981. The Antitheatrical Prejudice. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barnes, Clive. 1999. ‘Amadeus’ Scores. New York Post, December 16. http://nypost.com/1999/12/16/amadeus-scores/.
  7. Barton, Bruce. 2014. Interactual Dramaturgy. In The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, ed. Magda Romanska, 179–185. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Beckett, Samuel. 1990a. The Complete Dramatic Works. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1990b. Footfalls. In Beckett 1990, 397–403. First Published 1976.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1999. Footfalls. [Revised Text and Production Notebooks.] In Gontarski 1999, 273–351.Google Scholar
  11. Billington, Michael. 2014. Amadeus Review: Rupert Everett’s Salieri Darkly Rages at God. The Guardian, July 18. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/jul/18/amadeus-rupert-everett-salieri-mozart-chichester-festival-theatre-review.
  12. Brantley, Ben. 1999. Mozart Blazes Before a Changed Salieri. The New York Times, December 16. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/16/theater/theater-review-mozart-blazes-before-a-changed-salieri.html?mcubz=3.
  13. Brater, Enoch. 1987. Beyond Minimalism: Beckett’s Late Style in the Theater. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Byron, Glennis. 2003. Dramatic Monologue. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Callow, Simon. 1984. Being an Actor. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2006. It Was the Part of a Lifetime. The Guardian, August 29. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2006/aug/29/theatre.
  17. Carnicke, Sharon Marie. 2008. Stanislavsky in Focus. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Clapp, Susannah. 2014. Amadeus Review: Rupert Everett Impresses as the Seething Salieri. The Guardian, July 27. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/jul/27/amadeus-review-rupert-everett-impresses-seething-salieri.
  19. Cohn, Ruby. 1964. Philosophical Fragments in the Works of Samuel Beckett. Criticism 6 (1): 33–43.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1983. Beckett’s Theater Resonance. In Samuel Beckett: Humanistic Perspectives, ed. Beja Morris, S.E. Gontarski, and Pierre Astier, 3–15. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gardner, Howard. 1994. How Extraordinary Was Mozart? In On Mozart, ed. James M. Morris, 36–51. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gardner, Lyn. 2004. Amadeus: Derby Playhouse. The Guardian, September 13. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2004/sep/13/theatre.
  23. ———. 2007. Amadeus: Crucible, Sheffield. The Guardian, November 15. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2007/nov/15/theatre1.
  24. Garner, Stanton B., Jr. 1989. The Absent Voice: Narrative Comprehension in the Theater. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 1994. Bodied Spaces: Phenomenology and Performance in Contemporary Drama. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Gianakaris, C.J. 1981. A Playwright Looks at Mozart: Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. Comparative Drama 15 (1): 37–53.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 1983. Shaffer’s Revisions in Amadeus. Theatre Journal 35 (1): 88–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Giovanzana, Davide. 2015. Theatre Enters! The Play Within the Play as a Means of Disruption. PhD diss., Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki. https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/157428.
  29. Gontarski, S.E., ed. 1999. The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol. IV. The Shorter Plays: With Revised Texts for Footfalls, Come and Go and What Where. General Editor James Knowlson. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  30. Gruen, John. 1969. Samuel Beckett Talks About Beckett. Vogue 154: 210–211.Google Scholar
  31. Gussow, Mel. 1984. How Billie Whitelaw Interprets Beckett. The New York Times, February 14. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/02/14/theater/how-billie-whitelaw-interprets-beckett.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=3.
  32. ———. 1994. Modify Beckett? Enter, Outrage. The New York Times, March 26. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/26/arts/modify-beckett-enter-outrage.html.
  33. Hall, Peter. 1983. Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle. Edited by John Goodwin. London: Hamisch Hamilton.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 2001. Introduction. In Shaffer 2001, vii–xiii.Google Scholar
  35. Hamilton, Carole. 2001. Critical Essay on Amadeus. Drama for Students 13: 13–16. http://yipchikin.net/yipchikin/master/shaffer/amadeus_pdf.Google Scholar
  36. Hickling, Alfred. 2003. Amadeus: Theatre Royal, York. The Guardian, August 1. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2003/aug/01/theatre.
  37. Huber, Werner, and Hubert Zapf. 1984. On the Structure of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. Modern Drama 27 (3): 299–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ingold, Tim. 2011. Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 2015. The Life of Lines. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Jones, Christine. 1998. Bodily Functions: A Reading of Gender Performativity in Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby. In Samuel Beckett: A Casebook, ed. Jennifer M. Jeffers, 179–201. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  41. Kakutani, Michiko. 1984. How ‘Amadeus’ Was Translated from Play to Film. The New York Times, September 16. http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/bestpictures/amadeus-ar2.html?mcubz=3.
  42. Kalb, Jonathan. 1991. Beckett in Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Kivy, Peter. 2001. Possessor and the Possessed: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and the Idea of Musical Genius. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Knowlson, James. 2003. Images of Beckett. With Photographs by John Haynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. MacMurraugh-Kavanagh, Madeleine K. 1998. Peter Shaffer: Theatre and Drama. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McMullan, Anna. 1993. Theatre on Trial: Samuel Beckett’s Later Drama. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McTighe, Trish. 2013. The Haptic Aesthetic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  48. Miller, J. Hillis. 1992. Ariadne’s Thread: Story Lines. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Moretti, Franco. 2013. Network Theory, Plot Analysis. In Distant Reading, 211–240. London: Verso. Online. https://litlab.stanford.edu/LiteraryLabPamphlet2.pdf.Google Scholar
  50. Olney, James. 1998. Memory & Narrative: The Weave of Life-Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  51. Paavolainen, Teemu. 2015. Meaning in the Weaving: Mapping and Texture as Figures of Spatiality and Eventness. Nordic Theatre Studies 27 (2): 10–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pearson, Mike. 2010. Site-Specific Performance. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Plunka, Gene A. 1988. Peter Shaffer: Roles, Rites, and Rituals in the Theater. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Pountney, Rosemary. 1988. Theatre of Shadows: Samuel Beckett’s Drama 1956–1976. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe.Google Scholar
  55. Puchner, Martin. 2002. Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Rich, Frank. 1980. ‘Amadeus’ by Peter Shaffer. The New York Times, December 18. http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/theater/111837974.pdf?mcubz=3.
  57. Ridley, Clifford A. 1999. A Performance that Almost Redeems the Play. Philadelphia Inquirer, December 18. http://articles.philly.com/1999-12-18/entertainment/25482408_1_peter-shaffer-s-amadeus-antonio-salieri-sole-man.
  58. Rokem, Freddie. 2002. Witnessing Woyzeck: Theatricality and the Empowerment of the Spectator. SubStance 31 (2–3): 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Romanska, Magda. 2014. Introduction. In The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, ed. Magda Romanska. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. Rosenthal, Daniel. 2013. The National Theatre Story. London: Oberon.Google Scholar
  61. Saltz, David Z. 1999. Beckett’s Cyborgs: Technology and the Beckettian Text. In Theatre in Cyberspace: Issues of Teaching, Acting, and Directing, ed. Stephen A. Schrum, 273–290. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  62. Shaffer, Peter. 1980. Amadeus. London: André Deutch.Google Scholar
  63. ———. 1982. Preface. In The Collected Plays of Peter Shaffer, vii–xviii. New York: Harmony Books.Google Scholar
  64. ———. 1984. Amadeus. Edited by Richard Adams. Longman Study Texts. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  65. ———. 1989. Lettice and Lovage; Yonadab. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  66. ———. 2001. Amadeus. With an Introduction by the Director Sir Peter Hall and a New Preface by the Author. New York: Harper Collins/Perennial.Google Scholar
  67. ———. 2007. Postscript: The Play and the Film. In Amadeus, 108–112. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  68. Shakespeare, William. 1997. King Lear. Edited by R.A. Foakes. Arden Shakespeare. London: Thomson Learning. Written ca 1606.Google Scholar
  69. Shepherd, Simon, and Peter Womack. 1996. English Drama: A Cultural History. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  70. Simone, R. Thomas. 1983. ‘Faint, Though by No Means Invisible’: A Commentary on Beckett’s Footfalls. Modern Drama 26 (4): 435–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. ———. 1988. Beckett’s Other Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, and Rockaby. In ‘Make Sense Who May’: Essays on Samuel Beckett’s Later Works, ed. Robin J. Davis and Lance St.J. Butler, 56–65. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe.Google Scholar
  72. States, Bert O. 1985. Great Reckonings in Little Rooms: On the Phenomenology of Theater. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  73. ———. 1988. Playing in Lyric Time: Beckett’s Voice Plays. Theatre Journal 40 (4): 453–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tibbetts, John C. 2005. Composers in the Movies: Studies in Musical Biography. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Townsend, Martha A. 1986. Amadeus as Dramatic Monologue. Literature/Film Quarterly 14 (4): 214–219.Google Scholar
  76. Turner, Cathy, and Synne K. Behrndt. 2008. Dramaturgy and Performance. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  77. West, Sarah. 2010. Say It: The Performative Voice in the Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  78. Whitelaw, Billie. 1995. … Who He? An Autobiography. London: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
  79. Wikipedia. 2017. Warp and Weft. Last Edited 10 August 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warp_and_weft.
  80. Wiles, David. 2003. A Short History of Western Performance Space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Worthen, W.B. 2005. Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teemu Paavolainen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TampereTampereFinland

Personalised recommendations