Rehearsals are in full swing for Amarillo Opera’s interpretation of The Threepenny Opera.
Cackling. Giggling. Belly-trembling guffawing. Water-spewing-out-the-nose laughter. Those were the sounds emanating from the ol’ bod last night.
Seems Mack gets trapped in the middle with his women.
He’s despicable, butMark Womack makes us love him in spite of himself. There’s nothing else to say.
My ensemble-cohorts making me chortle. The Amarillo fellows playing the gang members are priceless. Be sure to catch their antics.
The charming Patrick Swindell (of Patrick Swindell and Pizzazz fame) as a street singer. Patrick shatters the fourth wall and helps the audience understand the action on stage. He brings mountains of quirky fun to the show! You can see how spell-binding he is by looking at the reaction of the actor in the chair onstage.
The Threepenny ensemble rehearsing last night. Look closely……notice the banjo. That’s right. A banjo! How crazy fun is that?
Don’t want to give away too much, but this show has an over-the-top ending. The finale even pokes the endings of grand opera in the eye. It’s smart, crisp and devilishly funny.
You don’t want to miss this gem. You will laugh. I promise. Next weekend….April 5th and 6th. Contact Amarillo Opera for tickets. Or message me if you like and I can hook you up.
I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve failed to mention I’m set-dressing in another Amarillo Opera production.
Even though the title contains the word opera, it feels like musical theater to me. There’s a storyline with spoken dialogue. Musical numbers are interspersed.
We had our first meeting of cast and ensemble last week.
As usual, Amarillo Opera has brought in some fantastic pros who will sing the principle roles. It’s great fun to watch them apply their craft. They serve to inspire us locals. The talent will not disappoint those who come see the show.
I’ve been wrestling with how to describe this quirky work to you chicken-wingers. First things first. One of the most recognizable jazz standards of all time…..Mack the Knife.…is in Threepenny Opera. The song opens and closes the show.
Guess what? There really is a Suki Tawdry. And she’s in this show!
And I KNOW her! There’s also Mack the Knife, Lucy Brown, Jenny Diver, Polly Peachum and all the cast of miscreants mentioned in the song.
Threepenny Opera’s plot involves the criminal underbelly of London around 1838…during the time of Queen Victoria’s coronation. Think Oliver! only lots seedier with gang members, crimes and prostitution.
Here’s my best way to describe this 20th century work to you.
Let’s look at two photos, shall we?
Photo number one is a yucca plant in bloom.
We quickly recognize the elements in the photo: the soft blooms, the barbed-wire background, the rough fence post, the grass and sky. These are pretty familiar images to the West Texas eye. Most of us would describe this photo as pretty, or maybe even beautiful.…depending upon one’s perspective. It feels comfortable and we don’t have to expend much effort to understand the picture or to interpret the elements contained within it.
Is the photo art?
What do you think of photo number two?
I hear you….it is the same photo. It might be a little harder to recognize the blooming plant as a yucca. Is that a fencepost? Is the barbed-wire still there? Why is the sky funky-colored with the crazy texture? Is that really the sky?? Hard to tell. Even though this photo has the same elements as the first one, it feels more ominous, shady, and perhaps even confusing to some of us. Confounding, perhaps?
Is the photo art?
Threepenny Opera feels like the second photo. I like it and I’m understanding it more every day, but it’s definitely the second photo for me.
My favorite line from the Opera is spoken by Mack after a particularly dramatic song by his love (one of MANY!), Polly. After her song, the uncouth gang members are offering comments on what they think of Polly’s song. Mack exclaims, “It’s ART, and art isn’t NICE!’
‘Bout sums it up for me.
I’ll show you some bits and pieces as we work toward opening night, April 5th.
‘Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear’-love to all.
Purchasing a one-eyed pink teddy bear for the grands.
Eating plate-loads of fried chicken.
Did you know tighty-whities are the new sex symbol? You probably did, because you’re WAY ahead of me in the cool-department.
Don’t worry, the Texan knows all about my sordid state. I recently downloaded the entire run of Breaking Bad on my Kindle. I don’t usually watch dramatic series like the Sopranos, House of Cards, etc. They don’t interest me…..but something about the dad from Malcolm in the Middle morphing into a murderous meth king-pin intrigued me. How exactly could the meek Bryan Cranston possibly create this transformation?
Transform, he does. By the time Walter White utters the words, I am the one who knocks, I was a cool-aid sipping disciple. I watched late at night when I should’ve been sleeping. I guiltily snuck an episode or two in during the day whenever I had a 45 minute break. I kept my Kindle in my car and watched bits and pieces of the series whenever I had a little time between meetings or errands. My addicted nadir was me sitting in the parking garage of my gym….ear-buds firmly implanted, Kindle white-knuckle gripped….while a friend was honking at me trying to tell me goodbye after an exercise class. Had a hard time explaining that one.
Why do you like a series glorifying drug use and murder? questioned the Texan.
I don’t think the series uplifted the use of meth or glossed over the consequences of the drug-addicted life. I imagine it highlighted that dark-underbelly lifestyle with a gritty honesty.
While watching the series I swung between two constantly competing emotions: lifting my jaw up off the floor or holding my sides from raucous belly-laughter.
I think Walter White is the most complex and interesting fictional character, ever. Of all time. Bravo, Vince Gilligan.
Restraining myself now from writing Bryan Cranston a stalk-y, gushing love letter. Totally respect his acting chops. Gotta go now to check eBay. Hope I have the winning bid for the tighty-whities!