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ISSUE 118 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 4/8/2005

'Opera' previewed

By Lauren Hoffman
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 8, 2005

“If anything, think that they’ve all been coked up a bit.”

This direction, given by Gary Gisselman to his cast in one of the final rehearsals for Kelsey Theater’s upcoming production of “The Threepenny Opera,” is reflective both of Gisselman’s directorial approach and the material of the show itself.

“Threepenny” tells the story of Mack the Knife, one of the most infamous criminals in Victorian London, and the world in which he lived.

This is not your typical musical – it’s not “Annie;” it’s not “Phantom of the Opera.”

It’s not nice, it’s not pretty and there’s nothing particularly cheerful about its ending.

It’s a story about beggars, thieves and prostitutes living in the gray areas of life.

This show is dark, sexy, sometimes hilarious, strongly performed and, more than likely, sure to offend some people.

Above all, “Threepenny” is reflective of Bertolt Brecht’s approach to playwriting.

A social critic, Brecht did not design his plays to be escapist; rather, they were intended to motivate audiences to think rather than be swept away by plots.

As a result, “Threepenny” does not present its audience with relatable characters.

Succinctly put by cast member Kate Olson ‘06, this is a show that’s “raw to the core. “

Innovatively designed, the overall look of the show is a conglomeration of the Victorian era and a 1980s punk rock show.

“It is incredibly complex, but it’s really gratifying to see the elements of staging and design and production coming together in a way that’s both original and supportive of the themes of the show,” Stage Manager Amanda Robbins ’05 said.

If the rarity of this show isn’t reason enough to see it, the production’s intelligent team of cast and crew committed to bringing truth to the story should give theatergoers that much more incentive to see the show. However, the frankness with which “Threepenny” approaches some very adult themes may be shocking to some.

“A show that doesn’t offend says nothing,” performer Becca Trombly ’06 said. “The fact that this show is so honest and so much less sugar-coated than what we’re used to seeing is what makes it appealing.”

“Threepenny” will run Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday 2 p.m, and next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the theater department website or by calling the box office at x8987.

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