Three Pence Worth of Wisdom December 11, 2010Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
“Who is the greater criminal: he who robs a bank or he who founds one?”
MacHeath in Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera
In a week book-ended by a friend sending a link to The Priests Monologue from Synecdoche, New York on The Rumups (where I would have found it anyway) and ending with MacHeath in the Three Penny Opera in a translation closer to the dark Brecht vision in all it’s whoreish and knife-sharp beauty–probably not the version you think you know, what saccharine Broadway thought indelicate for corn-fed mid-century American taste–a thought for today:
There is no forgiveness or redemption, only the hope of capricious pardon.
I wonder what my colleagues at the pinnacle of finance in New York a half century ago thought of this show? Did they squirm in their seats, suddenly uncomfortable in their well-pressed Brooks Brothers theater wear? It takes a certain moral defect, a sociopathical self confidence in the rightness of one’s profession to rise to such a high position in the world of finance. I think they likely saw it only as a dark cabaret of comedy and whores, crawled home after the show and quietly cried “Jenny” as they creaked the springs of their wives’ twin bed.
Take it away, Marianne.
They gave the Pirate Jenny song to Polly in the Cripple Creek Theater production I saw and I think this cheapened Jenny’s character and stole the motivation for her betrayal. This is not a review: the names of the fine cast can all be found in perfect parenthetical insertion here). I’m just throwing in my own two pence.