Saturday, October 03, 2015

Bilbao moon

A Saturday but no Brooklyn Botanic Garden...! But that's OK. Today was wet, so the High Line was available for viewing, like the early days.
I was in that neighborhood to see "Happy End," the inaugural production by the newly consolidated New School for Performing Arts: Drama, Jazz, Mannes. (No photos allowed.) The dean of the division noted that they had long wanted to perform this, the sequel to Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's "Three Penny Opera," written by a Dorothy Lane (=Elisabeth Hauptmann). It is a good fit for a jazz/classical/theater conservatory, and for The New School, which played host to two of Brecht's important collaborators, Hanns Eisler and Erwin Piscator. The story even takes place in 1919, our birthyear, though in Chicago.

It was a good show well performed, my first live theater in a long time, I found myself grinning dementedly at the liveness of it... Not the desired effect of Epic Theater, I don't think. But even with a less delirious viewer it is a challenge. It gives you a "happy end" which is supposed to rankle, but the unholy alliance of Salvation Army and gangsters (possibly through love, if anyone is naive to believe in such a thing) which might have continued the low-life theme of "Dreigroschenoper" in Europe here is charmingly familiar: "Guys and Dolls," anyone? I've seen it before, performed to the hilt by students at the Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne nine years ago (actually I needed me diary to tell me when and where I'd seen it before) and had pretty much the same reaction. Isn't this too much fun? I was singing the super-catchy deliberately irrelevant song "Bilbao Moon" long after the show ended. Fantaaaastic!

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