Trinity Universityâ€™s department of theatre will debut the musical â€œThe Threepenny Operaâ€ next week, with a preview night on Thursday and the official opening on Friday. The performance is open to the general public and tickets can be purchased at the student theatre box office.
â€œThis is an adaptation by [composers] Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill of a literal translation by [German dramatist] Elizabeth Hauptmann of this play from the 18th century called The Beggarsâ€™ Opera, and it was built originally as an opera by and for beggars; a sort of a light, comic opera. This adaptation modernizes it and became basically the model for modern musical theatre,â€ said Kyle Gillette, associate professor of human communication and Theatre and Director of â€˜The Threepenny Opera.â€™
According to Gillette, the story of â€œThe Threepenny Operaâ€ is set in a version of London where elements of the 19th century mix with contemporary ones. The musical concerns several threads, one of them being Mr. Peachum, who runs a shop for beggars.
â€œHe kind of has a monopoly on selling the rights to begging in London. [â€¦] Mr. Peachum has a shop where he sells slogans and sells outfits for beggars to make them look more pitiable, like stumps and things like this. So itâ€™s sort of a parody of how he used messages from the Bible to actually bilk people of their money,â€ Gillette said.
In the play, Peachumâ€™s daughter Polly weds criminal mastermind Macheath, â€œMack the Knife,â€ and a rivalry between Mr. Peachum and Macheath ensues.
â€œThat starts the plot, and you kind of get Mack pursued by Mr. Peachum, and you get all these wonderful scenes, lots of great music and just a fascinating play and musical. It was the inspiration for all of the meta-musicals that we have now like Cabaretâ€¦ these dark, seedy musicals that point to a political underbelly that it exposes; those all have their bases in the The Threepenny Opera,â€ Gillette said.
The cast of the play consists of approximately twenty five students. Among them, Mr. Peachum and his wife will be played by Matthew Reynolds and Amy Rossini; Polly Peachum will be played by Jasmin Weber; Macheath will be played by Alejandro Cardona; the chief-of-police, Tiger Brown, will be portrayed by Nicholas Champion; Tiger Brownâ€™s daughter, Lucy Brown, will be played by Tristan Harness.
â€œThe students here put a lot of effort and time into it, and itâ€™s going to be interesting because we donâ€™t have musicals that often on campus; itâ€™s every two years. [Students] should come and watch it because itâ€™s different, itâ€™s not like a normal play and itâ€™s not like a normal musical.â€ said senior Ember Porter, production and stage manager for the show.
According to Gillette, â€œThe Threepenny Operaâ€ will have a preview on Thursday November 12 called the â€œThreepenny Thursday,â€ which anyone can attend for the price of three pennies or by donating a greater amount to the Theatre. The show will officially open on Friday November 13 at 8:00 p.m., and will run until Saturday November 21. On Saturday November 14, the play will run at 8:00 p.m., on Sunday November 15 there will be a matinee at 2:00 p.m.; on the following Wednesday and Thursday, it will run at 7:00 p.m., and that Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online and at the student theatre box office.
â€œItâ€™s going to be a great show. The music is fantastic, the characters are deeply puzzling and the show is just tremendous food for thought. Even if youâ€™re not usually a theatre person, the â€œThe Threepenny Operaâ€ â€¦ can be very gratifying, it can be a really rewarding experience because itâ€™s truly unlike anything that has been done before,â€ Cardona said.