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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Late Night Brecht Theatre! New and Improved!

Due to popular demand, we've updated this post with new links for your enjoyment!

Cat Fight!

Lover's Tango

mahoggany

der Bilbao song

Surabaya Johnnie

Alabama Song

Jim Dale dares to be young!

Seeräuber Jenny

Now in Spanish!

Weill-Not Brecht:

Lost in the Stars

Mack!

Bobby!

Louis!

Ella!

Nick!

Mack the Knife mosh-up!

the new kid!

13 comments:

Dave von Ebers said...

Ya gotta do the Steve Martin shark hand gesture when you sing this:

Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne

Und die trägt er im Gesicht

Und MacHeath, der hat ein Messer

Doch das Messer sieht man nicht …

SeattleDan said...

Dave, have you ever watched any of the filmed versions of Threepenny? They all suck, and all suck in different ways. The German one by Pabst updates the story in ludicrous ways; and Brecht wrote the screenplay for that one. It is interesting, however, to see Lotte Lenya sing Jenny Diver. There was another German production in the 60's with a much too old Kurt Jurgens playing Macheath; and Sammy Davis jr. as the street singer. Then there was the one in the 80's with Raul Julia. I loved his acting, but this production doesn't really capture it.

I've seen it on stage several times, and have always enjoyed those productions. I just don't know why it hasn't translated well to film.

Dave von Ebers said...

Dan, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen any of those productions. We read a lot of Bertolt Brecht in German lit classes in college, so I dig his sense of the absurd. I kinda sorta remember the general outline of Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder. I’ve never seen any of them staged, though.

I’m sorry to say, I’m a sucker for the Bobby Darin, watered down English language version of “Mac the Knife” … Every time I hear the line, “Could it be our boy’s done something rash …” I can’t help but think about Our Man George. I blogged about it many moons ago …

SeattleDan said...

Bobby Darin was the King!, Man.

I've seen Mother Courage staged (I think it was the SF Mime troupe) many years ago. It was entertaining, as I recall, but there weren't any snappy tunes.

Anonymous said...

Long ago and far away, during my year of post-graduate studies in theatre at Florida State University (on sabbatical, so I could assume sponsorship of the fledgling theatre program at my hinterlands community college - but they've got talent and intellectual potential in the hinterlands, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise can - on the other hand, the "grown-ups" can be pretty damned provincial), I saw a hell of a production of Mother Courage. I'm a Gator first, of course, but FSU has the premier university theatre program in the southeast, and this production reflected that fact. And the East Campus of Valencia Community College (Orlando, Florida), which is the jewel of theatre arts in Central Florida, served up a compelling production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

I tend to suspect the power of live presence might be inseparable from successful presentation of Brecht's plays, although I have no reason to hold to tenaciously to that possibility. Perhaps it just takes a director with a particular sensibility to getting Brecht from the stage to the screen, but I do remember just how significant the feel of being in the presence of those productions was for me, that in spite of Brecht's prescription that his plays should make people think, not feel, but then the author is only the author, not the arbiter.

But the reason I posted a comment was to offer my now standard envy of the lives of you Upper Left Coasters.

Anonynous [sometimes Angry] David

SeattleDan said...

Thanks, David. I would guess that Brecht gets produced much more often in colleges and Universities than by rep companies these days.

I suspect you may be right: Brecht works better on stage.

Anonymous said...

Ach, du lieber Gott, those damnable typos, especially the word that gets missed when deleting part of a sentence and the second o that somehow deletes itself from too, not to mention having to have people imagine the italicization...

SD, do you happen to remember back to the early days of cable when Jane Fonda was still Mrs. Ted Turner and she had a program on one of his cable channels which was a broadcast of live theatre (who can resist the -re simply to distinguish live performance from film?) I think the first show I watched was The Dybbuk (damn, I hope I spelled that correctly). That did not seem to work. It was as if the power of performance was diminished by the compression and the flatness, along with the stationary focus. On the other hand, there have been any number of productions of Shakespeare as film that I have thoroughly enjoyed both on the silver screen and on television, so perhaps it is just that for certain plays, especially those of certain playwrights, the loss of the power of live performance is not compensated for by the power of the camera. Be interesting to read some analyses by directors/screenwriters who have done adapting, both about adaptations that have succeeded and those that have failed.

piglet said...

dave v e:

That reminds me of a semester spent in Germany, when, after many biers, we started singing "Mac the Knife" a la Darin, and were appalled when our new German friends started singing it in German, but as slow and heavy as a dirge!

Wha? That's not how Darin does it, Man!

Dave von Ebers said...

’Course, you could always fire back with “Somewhere Beyond the Sea” …

SeattleDan said...

David, I missed Ms. Fonda's show. It must have been during my lost years!

"Mack the Knife" opens Threepenny Opera, and in the performances I've seen, though not sung as a dirge, is certainly sung with less up-tempo than Bobby's version. Legend has it that the song was written late in rehersals to punch up the show some. The opening night Berlin audience didn't know what to make of the show until the duet between Macheath and Tiger Brown, "Army Song", which sounds like Kipling run amok.

Anonymous said...

A year here, a year there, pretty soon you're talking real time...

Anonymous David

SeattleDan said...

Don't I know it!

Dave von Ebers said...

Seattle D … You’re just like that David Bowie. I believe he once said he had no memory of 1975. Neither do I, but for, um, less interesting reasons.

And I wasn’t wearing a dress back then …