The Threepenny Opera

This production of Threepenny  was very unique presentation of Brecht’s opera.  As the director wrote in her notes, “…we’ve set Threepenny Opera at a time in the not too distant future, where current events are rendered as recent history.”  The draw of the consumerism and commercialism of the American 1950s was an image very important to the director, but she was also very interested in the idea of Steampunk, or a Steampunk-like dystopian society.  Taking the 1950s and the Atomic Era as the jumping off point for my research, I stumbled across the Teds (or Teddy Boys) in England, and felt that their mix of 1950s clothing with Edwardian styles was a perfect fit for a 1950s/Steampunk mash-up of costumes for our Threepenny.  My design is centered around 1950s fashions, with Edwardian elements sneaking in; the idea of the 1950s offers a kind of familiarity, but the additions of Edwardian and some Steampunk elements throw it off just enough that you can’t quite settle on an exact time period of the play.  The Teds themselves were a major influence for Macheath’s gang and Lucy.  Polly is representational of the 1950s ideal.  Her parents, on the other hand straddle this ideal world that Peachum hopes to push his daughter into by marriage, and the world of the beggars that they employ–again their costuming is reminiscent of the 1950s, but something is “off” about them, much like their personalities.

Produced at the University of Minnesota (2016)

Director: Kym Longhi

Scenic Design: Sarah Bahr

Lighting Design: Keli Huangzhen

Media Designer: Martin Gwinup