The Threepenny Opera has always been about pure entertainment at the level of the masses. It is bawdy, raucous, full of low-lifes, very sexy, a delight musically, with a ‘happy’ ending and amongst all of that is disguised the playwright’s passionate message about equality and social injustice. Historically, all the runs of the play- particularly those helmed by the playwright Bertolt Brecht and his Berliner Ensemble have been uproarious successes. Songs from the play have been appropriated by mass culture and converted literally into worldwide pop hits sung by musicians as diverse as Sting, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and The Doors, only to name a few. For one thing, reminding audiences about the brilliance of Brecht and Weill’s songwriting is very important, and the many messages weaved into the songs, of equality, social injustice, and economic disparity are particularly pertinent for Indian audiences. Mr Peachum, the owner of a small organization that makes outfitting and fake props for fake beggars- in a really poor part of the city, finds that his daughter, his only child has fallen for and gotten married to the bandit, Macheath. Macheath is a charming rogue with a propensity for visiting a particularly favourite brothel of his, but is yet so adorable that women find it hard to resist him. He has several charges levelled against him but one of the chief inspectors of police is his dear friend and is in his pocket. What follows is a crazy ride through a world of thieves, prostitutes, beggars, back alleys, and two timing characters- as Mr and Mrs. Peachum with some help, go about trying to imprison Macheath and get back their dear daughter. It is inherently naughty, sexual, playful and with a constant sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. 


Imaad Shah


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