Stripped Down: A Threepenny Cabaret

Published: November 2, 2012

Ronald Gerber

On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Black Box Theatre in the Daniel Arts Center filled with a swarm of Simon’s Rock students, parents, and faculty eager for entertainment from tough gangsters and loose women.

“A Threepenny Cabaret” was a 45-minute long, minimalistic presentation by voice students and music faculty of selected songs from Brecht and Weill’s 1928 classic The Threepenny Opera.

The piece, which is a required reading for Sophomore Seminar classes, is famous for being staged as very self-aware. This reminds the audience constantly that they are watching a play and not realistic representation of the world.

The Simon’s Rock miniature production was staged simply. All the featured singers sat in a semi-circle of chairs behind a single spotlight.

Lawrence Wallach, Professor of Music, sat on one end of the circle. The only sources of instrumental music aside from Wallach’s piano playing was the occasional accompaniment by Mia McGiffert ’12 on alto saxophone.

After an introduction from Wallach before each scene and song, the student soloists came forward to sing, and sometimes act, their parts, with each song “sung indiscriminately in English and German,” according to the performance program.

All the vocalists did a fantastic job of maintaining the tongue-in-cheek and darkly ironic tone of Brecht and Weill’s masterpiece.

Highlights from the evening included the famous ballad of Mac the Knife, sung by Oliver Pearson ‘11; a hilarious duet between Polly and Macheath, played by Audie Fierberg ‘11 and Jake Ireland ‘11; and the end of the show in which all the players and the audience joined together to sing a final chorale.

It was a memorable event for all in attendance.