Mozart’s childhood displayed in ‘Symphony’

by David Dixon

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A euphonic performance showing Mozart’s early life in a show for all ages, performed at the Don Powell Theatre, MCT Campus

A euphonic performance showing Mozart’s early life in a show for all ages, performed at the Don Powell Theatre, MCT Campus

Parents  and students with younger siblings should know that the Don Powell Theatre has a new show that is perfect for children.

“Symphony of Clouds, Musical Adventures of the Boy Mozart” is a tribute to the prodigy who was known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Written and directed by professor Margaret Larlham, the short play follows little composer Mozart (played by Jon Wat) as he gains popularity throughout Europe.  His journey of self-discovery is interwoven with musical excerpts such as “Rondo Alla Turca,” “Dies Bildnis” and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

The cast is comprised of five talented main members. Wat has a childhood-like quality that works in his portrayal of Mozart. He displays signs of maturity in the final scenes and handles the change flawlessly. David Armstrong plays Mozart’s father, Leopold, with comedic foreshadowing that might only be understood by older audience members. Sunny Smith is caring and moving as Anna Maria, Mozart’s somewhat overprotective mother. Emily Gordon is Constanza, a mystical narrator who is the guide of Mozart’s world throughout this production.

The Cloud Ensemble, made up of six individuals, represents the “shimmering, acoustic clouds of music” that Mozart creates. While they serve that purpose well, the ensemble is also required to sing, dance, act and play several different characters. Adults will find them very gifted, and kids should delight in their talent as well.

“Symphony of Clouds” does take imaginative liberties with the facts behind the story, but there are educational moments in the show. In a scene where young Mozart is asked music trivia questions by European composers, he explains several musical terms in an entertaining way.

Unlike the shows earlier in the season, this one might initially seem too juvenile for college students. However, even if the material may seem childish at times, the music of Mozart remains beautiful and lively. Musicians Sammie Davis, Ryota Kaneko, and Michelle Tymich deserve most of the credit for this. Megan Ames’ brilliant sound design works wonders, giving the prerecorded music a concert feel.

Some of the methods utilized by the crew are very sophisticated, even for the immensely creative School of Theatre, Television and Film. Dominic Abbenante’s projections are blended well throughout. Jonathan Southwell’s Costume Design is stylish and fits the 18th century setting perfectly.

Larlham’s writing and direction are also huge factors in the success of “Symphony of Clouds.” Events move at a fast pace without feeling forced or confusing. The enjoyable dialogue works on several levels, which only adds to spectator’s investment in Mozart’s life.

“Symphony of Clouds” is a fantastic choice for a night of live family enjoyment. The music, cast, crew and plot all add up to a satisfying theatrical exploration.

Tickets and information on “Symphony of Clouds, Musical Adventures of the Boy Mozart” can be found online at theatre.sdsu.edu.

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