Thursday 22 April 2010
I’m not particularly keen on Bertolt Brecht as a playwright, as a thinker, or as a man. I loath his politics and I distrust his didactic view of the theatre. I find plays like The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui banal, obvious and tiresomely unimpressive.
However, the work I do admire is that which emerged from his collaboration with Kurt Weil, the composer; musical dramas like The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany and above all The Threepenny Opera. And the impressive thing for me about these productions is not so much Brecht’s lyrics, as always pushing a clumsy political message, but Weil’s music. Still, the combination of words and music works well in wonderful songs like Mackie Messer and Seeräuberjenny.
But the Weil Brecht song that I like the most has to be Surabaya Johnny from Happy End.