Anthony de Mare, Storyteller
ANTHONY DE MARE, Pianist
Although I am a concert pianist, two of the most moving performing arts experiences for me were in the theatre.
One was just a few years ago in New York, during a performance of the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. It was a British production, directed by the young Sam Buntrock, who had also worked in film and animation. The incorporation of animation within the set design throughout the show was stunning. I was also particularly struck by the simplicity of the staging and how it reflected the inner wisdom of Sondheim’s work, especially the richness of the musical score, as well as leaving an emotional impact on the viewer. The entire production moved me to tears many times over. Being so aware at the time of how this experience completely enveloped me, I realized this production deepened my love and respect for Sondheim’s work even more.
I remember leaving the theater and having to go sit down on a bench outside, feeling like I was still immersed in the pool of water that was the central aspect of the set design. I was just so lost in thought, feeling and revelation.
Several years earlier, around 2002, another Broadway production -- Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, based on Ovid’s poems and tales of transformation, also moved me tremendously. The writing in many ways is ageless, its power still so prominent in the modern times we live in. I remember leaving the theater and having to go sit down on a bench outside, feeling like I was still immersed in the pool of water that was the central aspect of the set design. I was just so lost in thought, feeling and revelation.
These two significantly different theatrical experiences really had an impact on me, as a musician as well as a human being. As a musician, one synthesizes so many unconscious ideas that we’re often not aware have a connection to the notes on the page. When you perform, the piano becomes an extension of the body and of the being; the composer’s language is being interpreted personally as well as literally. And all that you’ve experienced in the past has a profound influence on your ability to do that.