Andguladze’s Threepenny Opera
05 July, 2012
Andguladze’s Threepenny Opera

Georgian Director stages famous piece by Brecht
On June 30, comparatively new theatre in Tbilisi, named Iron Theatre, gave ground to the performance  of “Quite Different Opera” by director Davit Andguladze.

The production is based on the plot of  ”Threepenny Opera”  by Bertholt Brecht, but the focal point of the production is to expose the current condition of the theatre performers, whose chances and occupational space is limited, and who try to broaden them to some extent.
The verbal text

and the plot of the original play are of less importance, which is why the title of the production is ”Quite Different Opera.”
The variations of the well-known ‘Mack the Knife‘ theme is represented by different means (vocal, various technical and natural sounds, etc. ). It is only at the end of the performance that the audience hears the sounds of the ‘broken‘ piano played by two pianists.
As its original, the play is about the beggars who turn out to be the best and honest people among so many criminals and whores. The performance was interactive – first of all, there was no platform and they were playing at the same level with the audience. To make their hard lives even more intense to feel, they really beg and spectators can give them real mercy. This is sort of an innovation for Georgian stage, and also it is worth mentioning that the performance is played in the open air, in the yard, which really has its peculiar ambiance. The leitmotif is that a man is destined to die in this cruel world. 
For those who wish to know more about the details of the play, here they go: Threepenny Opera (German: Die Dreigroschenoper) is a musical by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, created in collaboration with translator Elisabeth Hauptmann and set designer Casper Neher. It was adapted from the 18th century English ballad opera, John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera and offers a Marxist critique of the capitalist world. It opened on 31 August, 1928 at the Berlin Theater am Schiffbauerdamm.
By 1933, when Brecht and Weill were forced to leave Germany by Hitler’s Machtergreifung, the play was translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages. Songs from The Threepenny Opera were widely circulated and become models, most notably “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” (“The Ballad of Mack the Knife”) and “Seerauberjenny” (“Pirate Jenny”).
Set in a marginally-anachronistic Victorian London, the play focuses on Macheath, an amoral, antiheroic criminal. Macheath (Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife) marries Polly Peachum. This displeases her father, who controls the beggars of London, and he conspires to have Macheath hanged. His attempts are hindered by the fact that the Chief of Police, Tiger Brown, is Macheath’s old army comrade. Still, Peachum exerts his influence and eventually gets Macheath arrested and sentenced to hanging. Macheath escapes this fate via a deus ex machina moment before the execution when, in an unrestrained parody of a happy ending, a messenger from the Queen arrives to pardon Macheath and grant him the title of Baron.
Threepenny Opera is a work of epic theatre. It challenges conventional notions of property as well as dramatic rules. It dramatizes the point: “Who is the greater criminal: he who robs a bank or he who founds one?” Threepenny Opera is also an early example of a modern musical comedy genre. There are some jazz influences in it too. The orchestration involves a small ensemble with a good deal of doubling-up on instruments (in the original performances, for example, some 7 players managed a total of 23 instrumental parts, though modern performances typically use a few more players). The opera contains popular songs that later on, have been performed by great stars such as Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Robbie Williams, Ray Quin, Nina Simone, Judy Collins and Marc Almond. The Pet Shop Boys has also recorded “The Second Threepenny Finale” under the title “What keeps mankind alive”.

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