ROCKPORT — Everyman Repertory Theatre, in partnership with Bay Chamber Concerts, will present Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera” beginning on November 1, at the Rockport Opera House.
The production will run Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., for three consecutive weekends.
The show has a cast of 11 and a band – provided by co-producers Bay Chamber Concerts – of seven multi instrumentalists.
In their Threepenny Opera “by and for beggars,” composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht, along with Elisabeth Hauptmann, transformed sentimental, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's dissonant harmonies and Brecht's hard-hitting texts created a revolutionary new form that inspired such subsequent hits as Cabaret and Chicago, according to Everyman, in a news release.
The show's opening number, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” has become one of the top popular songs of the last century, said Everyman.
Directed by Everyman’s Artistic Director Paul Hodgson, this contemporary translation/adaptation is set in near-futuristic London on the eve of King William V’s coronation. As London scrubs up for the celebrations, the police cut deals left and right to keep the filth out of sight. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Peachum’s daughter can’t be found… and a notorious gangster is back in town.
“No spoiler alert needed,” said Hodgson, “but at the end of the play, Peachum says: ‘We do implore, don’t judge the poor too harshly/They turn to crime whenever times are tough/For life today is cold and grey and ghastly/And living it is punishment enough.’ In almost every scene, and every song, Brecht makes the point that the bourgeoisie has no higher moral code than the poor, they just have more money. Indeed, on some occasions, their moral code is worse. As Macheath says only a few lines earlier: ‘What’s picking a lock compared to currency dealing?’ Theatre doesn’t often deal with income inequality, it is often not a dramatic subject, but in Brecht’s hands, it becomes a searing and often hilarious piece that makes the audience think as well as care.”
The cast features Gordon Adams, Joseph Cote, Hanna DeHoff, Jennifer Hodgson, Paul Hodgson, Ryan Jackson, Beverly Mann, Caitlin Schick, T.R. Shields, Scott Anthony Smith, Emily Solo and David Troup.
The set is being designed by John Bielenberg of Belfast; lights are by Tom Sadowski of Lincolnville and costumes are by Kristina Skillin.
Performances of The Threepenny Opera will run Fridays and Saturdays, November 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16, at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $20, $10 for students, and may be purchased by visiting everymanrep.org or calling the box office at 236-0173.