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Quick Wit: David Suchet

The Amadeus star chats with Leslie Becker about fairies and other things. logo
Although he plays the cunning and villainous Salieri in Amadeus at the Music Box Theatre, David Suchet's playful English charm makes him a delightfully accessible "good guy." As we chatted before a performance I was intrigued by an enchanting little coffee table book called The Fairies featuring photographic images of supposedly real "fairies" from throughout the world.

TM: Do you believe in Fairies?

David: Oh yes! I believe in fairies and angels and all those things!

TM:What was your favorite childhood game?

David: I just loved Cowboys and Indians. We used to play Soldiers too. But I loved Cowboys and Indians.

TM: Were you a Cowboy or Indian?

David: Cowboy. The good guy of course.

TM: Where were you on the night of December 31, 1999?

David: I was in Times Square! I gate-crashed. (laughter) My family - two children, 18 and 16 - decided not to go home right after Christmas...they wanted to be with Dad. But they didn't want to stay in Dad's boring apartment. So I did something completely out of character for me...being a very conservative man. I logged on to the Internet and found that there was a fairly upscale loft party on 44th [Street] in Times Square. So I rang them up and decided to buy in. We were forbidden to go anywhere near Times Square by the we gate-crashed. We just crashed through! And we got there just as the ball was going down. And none any of us will ever forget what we did on that night. It may sound crazy to have been in the middle of Times Square, but none of us will ever forget it.

TM: What is your favorite line from a play?

David: Can we come back to that?

TM: Sure. Who's your favorite composer?

David: Telemann. Of course, I love Mozart too. I adore Vivaldi. I can use his music for anything. I can use it to fill a very nice evening as background. Or I can sit and listen to it and it raises my spirits. Or I can let it just affect me and go with it and use it as a meditation.

TM: If Salieri were running for public office, what would his platform be?

David: His campaign would be "charitable deeds." He would be the benevolent and try to get all the poor off the streets. In the play, he's always trying to say to God, 'I'm a good man'.

TM: But is he a good man?

David: Yes. He is a good man. Primarily he's a musician - that's his soul. And he happens to find himself in this terrible situation for him, and it starts to eat at him at the end of Act I...jealously, anger, greed, and the ball starts to roll and he can't stop it. If he was a true villain, he could. But he's not. He's an artist. He's just driven.

TM: What about you? Are you a musician?

David: I love music; music is a part of my life. When I was 14, I decided I wanted to bring music more into my life so I started learning to play the clarinet.

TM: And speaking of play, is there a role you would love to play that you'll never get to play?

David: I would love to get a go at Romeo, but it's out of my range. But I've had a wonderful career. I've played just about every role I've wanted to.

TM: If you were going to have three guests to dinner, who would they be and why?

David: I would have Jesus, with Napoleon and Hitler. That's off the top of my head. They'd bring up some very interesting conversation!

TM: Indeed. (laughter) Of the following four elements - earth, fire, air, water - which one best describes you?

David: Earth.

TM: What is your favorite sound?

David: Clarinet.

TM: When was the last time you opened your mouth, inserted your foot and chewed it thoroughly?

David: Most days. I have yet to learn to control the tongue. It's one of the hardest things.

TM: Do you have a pet peeve?

David: Unfairness. If anything is unfair or unjustified, causing hurt or sorrow through unfairness, it really gets to me. Life isn't fair, but that's all right, I can deal with that. It's when things happen between individuals that is not fair. It can be as silly as road rage. It just isn't fair.

TM: What skill that you don't already possess would you like to wake up with?

David: Healing.

TM: Morning or Night?

David: Both. I'm not an Afternoon. I love the morning. And I love the night.

TM: Near or Far?

David: Near.

TM: Beethoven or the Beatles?

David: Beethoven.

TM: Alone or part of a group?

David: Alone.

TM: Now or Then?

David: Now.

TM: Boxers or briefs?

David: Briefs.

TM: That's it, thanks.

David: Wait, I didn't tell you what my favorite line from a play is.

TM: What is it?

David: I don't know. (laughter) I'll tell you what my problem is. I have "instant-wipe." I can't remember hardly anything after I've done it.

TM: Perhaps because you have to make room for all the words you have to say in Amadeus.

David: That's it. My hard drive is full! (More laughter)

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