Magazine article American Theatre

Pretty Penny

Magazine article American Theatre

Pretty Penny

Article excerpt

Nothing comforts the have-nots quite like a satire of the haves. Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera has been thus diverting audiences since its triumphant 1928 debut, skewering the capitalist bourgeois of the Weimer Republic so soundly it was banned by the Reich, This month the Brecht-founded Berliner Ensemble's 2007 production, directed by Robert Wilson, makes a five-performance U.S. premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Oct. 4-8.

Pursued by presenting houses worldwide, Wilson's highly stylized interpretation has triumphed in every port. "The German; ensemble's acting abilities, physicality and musicality provide an amazing impact in telling this particular story," says BAM executive director Joe Melillo, adding, "My own opinion is that Robert Wilson was destined to confront the superior ensemble work of the Berliner Ensemble and to wrestle with the material of Threepenny Opera."

In this posthumous meeting of the minds, Brecht and Wilson's theatrical visions reinforce each other. Six-time Wilson collaborator and Thfeepenmy co-director Ann-Christin Rommen elaborates: "Brecht was for a formal, epic theatre with all the artistic elements equal to one another--much the way Bob works. Many critics have asserted that this is Threepenny as Brecht would have it." Bob, however, wasn't seeking Brecht-olytes' approval. Within the strictures of the Weill Foundation, which mandated absolute fidelity to the score, Wilson describes reaching his finished product "intuitively" through his standard three stages of development: first at his Watermill Cente in eastern Long Island, N. …

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