Plays and Such with Jorj Savage

Editor’s Note:  I can’t help saying that I think The Three Penny Opera is just a lovley name for a piece of theater.
 

 

The Three Penny Opera

Jorj Preparing to Attend the Theater

The Seattle Shakespeare Company is staging the Brecht/Weill “Three Penny Opera” using the Intiman Theater.  I saw this musicial off-Broaday in the early 1960’s with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny.  It was dark and haunting and created a Germanic mood and Mac the Knife was as bad dude.  When he appeared and they said bodies found cement graves you believed it.  New York City and its teeming streets added to the ambience.

The Three Penny Opera” is allegedly about beggars and thieves and I don’t think the show takes their world seriously.  It’s like “Lets enjoy the music and let the women rip.” The male roles are played by lovable guys.  Russell Hodgkinson is an amazing performer, a clown of the highest order, but hardly the man to play the leader of the thieves.  And John Bogar has a pleasant middle class nice guy manner that is anything but a dangerous chick magnet and killer.  Both actors play the lines and give incredible performances but where is the dark side?

On the women’s side Jerek Hoffer and Julie Briskman and Jayne Muirhead especially are tough chicks who rage against Macheath with such power that you think you’re back in “Macbeth.”  I loved it.  All the women were strong! strong! strong! which made the male leads look all the weaker.

So that’s the show.  It’s well done and fun and a modern interpertation.  Women directed BABS AND THE DODO, THE BROTHERS SIZE and THE MISANTHROPE and in two of those shows the women were strong. There are no women in BROTHER’S SIZE but a female director brought two guys out of prison to life.

The Three Penny Opera runs three full hours and has two intermissions and Brecht’s messages like “First feed and face and then teach right and wrong!” get in your face with full force.

Jorj.”

Photo by Carl Nelson

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