The Threepenny Opera

By Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
English translation by Michael Feingold
Original German text based on Elisabeth Hauptmann’s
German Translation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera

Directed by Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott

Feb 15 – EXTENDED THROUGH May 24, 2015

Production Sponsors: James and Trevessa Terrile

Part of the REVOLUTIONRep!

“The entire cast and ensemble collectively is one giant star.” – Examiner

“Sensationally performed. Couldn’t be better.” – LA Theater Examiner
“See it!” – Broadway World
“A true highlight.” – Talkin’ Broadway

Running Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

Prologue. The company sings of the exploits of the notorious Macheath, also known as Mack the Knife.

Act I.
Act I begins in the shop of Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum, who controls London’s beggars, equipping and training them in return for a cut of their earnings. He enlists a new beggar with the help of his wife, after which time they notice that their grown daughter Polly did not come home the previous night. The scene shifts to an empty stable where Macheath is about to marry Polly as soon as his gang has stolen and brought all the necessary food and furnishings. No vows are exchanged, but Polly is satisfied, and everyone sits down to a banquet. Since none of the gang members can provide fitting entertainment, Polly does it herself. The gang gets nervous when Chief of Police Tiger Brown arrives, but Brown turns out to be an old army buddy of Mack’s who has prevented him from being arrested all these years. Everyone else exits and Mack and Polly celebrate their love. Polly returns home and defiantly announces her marriage, as her parents urge her to get a divorce and Mrs. Peachum resolves to bribe Mack’s favorite prostitutes. Polly reveals Mack’s ties to Brown, which gives Mr. and Mrs. Peachum an idea about how to snare Mack, and the trio meditates on the world’s corruption.

Act II.
Polly tells Mack that her father will have him arrested. He makes arrangements to leave London, explaining his bandit “business” to Polly so she can manage it in his absence, and departs. Polly takes over the gang decisively as Mrs. Peachum bribes Jenny, Mack’s old lover, to turn him in. On the way out of London, Mack stops at his favorite brothel to visit Jenny. Smith arrives and apologetically arrests Mack, who goes to jail. He bribes the guard to remove his handcuffs; then his wife, Lucy—Brown’s daughter—arrives and declares her love. Polly arrives, and she and Lucy quarrel. After Polly leaves, Lucy engineers Mack’s escape. When Mr. Peachum finds out, he threatens Brown and forces him to send the police after Mack, which engenders another mediation on the unpleasant human condition.

Act III.
Jenny comes to the Peachums’ shop to demand her bribe money, which Mrs. Peachum refuses to pay. Jenny reveals that Mack is at Suky Tawdry’s house. When Brown arrives, determined to arrest Peachum and the beggars, he is horrified to learn that the beggars are already in position and only Mr. Peachum can stop them. To placate Peachum, Brown’s only option is to arrest Mack and have him executed. Jenny mourns Mack’s plight. In the next scene, Mack is back in jail. He begs the gang to raise a sufficient bribe, but they cannot. A parade of visitors—Brown, Jenny, Peachum, and Polly—enters as Mack prepares to die. Then a sudden reversal: A messenger on horseback arrives to announce that Macheath has been pardoned by the Queen and granted a castle and pension.

❖ SOURCE: Kurt Weil Foundation