Monday, April 10, 2006

Just a Jackknife

I saw the very wondeful and awesome new production of Threepenny Opera yesterday and it's quite fantastic. The whole thing is exquisitely Brechtian and incorporates many fantastic aspects of Verfremdungseffekt, from LCD supertitles, to emotionless direct address, to exposed theatrical mechanisms and stylistic breaks. Oh, and all the performances. Nellie McKay's Polly-Peachum-as-Dorothy-Gale works perfectly, Alan Cumming as a very bisexual sex-oozing MacHeath is excellent, and Cyndi Lauper as Pirate Jenny is perfect casting. Jim Dale, as always, is splendid. I even liked Ana Gasteyer. It's not jazz hands Broadway and it's certainly not the kind of song-and-dance thing those tourists love, but it's fabulous theater and I was thoroughly engaged, challenged, and reminded of my love for good ol' Bertold's epic theatre.

So, the show opens with Cyndi telling us about Mack the Knife. It's a song heralding Mack for murdering people with his knife, setting fires and raping a child-widow.
Some of his crimes include:
* killing a man on the Strand
* murdering a rich man, Schmul Meier
* Jenny Towler: killed with a knife in the chest
* Seven children and an old man killed in an arson fire
* Rape of a child widow (minderjährige Witwe) in her bed
Here's everything you ever wanted to know about Mack the Knife.

And for some reason, a song about murder, arson and child rape inspired McDonald's to create a charismatic jazz-loving mascot.

Because nothin' says burgers and fries like a good knifing.

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