Katie Melby, Eric Powell Holm, and Kelly Klein of “Rise and Fall”

BREAD presents Rise and Fall“From the first it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people, as it also has of all the other arts. It is this business which always gives it its particular dignity; it needs no other passport than fun, but this is has got to have. We should not by any means be giving it a higher status if we were to turn it e.g. into a purveyor of morality; it would on the contrary run the risk of being debased, and this would occur at once if it failed to make its moral lesson enjoyable, and enjoyable to the senses at that: a principle, admittedly, by which morality can only gain….The theatre must in fact remain something entirely superfluous, though this indeed means that it is the superfluous for which we live. Nothing needs less justification than pleasure.” —Bertolt Brecht, A Short Organum for the Theatre (trans. John Willett)

I love Brecht.

It felt appropriate to include the quote above in the blog post about this episode—an interview with directors Eric Powell Holm and Katie Melby (who also stars as Jimmy Gallagher in the show), and producer Kelly Klein (who portrays Willie) of BREAD Arts Collective‘s Rise and Fall, their take on Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny—because in my opinion, they’ve succeeded in getting to the heart of Brecht’s moral lesson, while at the same time making a highly pleasurable, superfluous piece of theatre that’s a great way to enjoy a Sunday night on a Lower East Side bar.

Listen in as Katie, Eric, and Kelly discuss creating their production with the people in the collective around them, why this is the perfect show to do in a bar, why you might want to under-rehearse, reading the room, and what to do if someone calls the bar-phone in the middle of your bar-show.

“This shit will live or die on its punk rock spirit. We have to go fast, and hard, and truthful, and we must not give a fuck—that’s the only way this play will work.”

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Sean Patrick Monahan, James Presson, Charlie Polinger, and Tom Sanchez of “Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man!”

Less Than Rent presents Little Mac, Little Mac, You're the Very Man!It’s been a good few seasons for Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, his adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera — Martha Clarke’s version is currently running at The Atlantic, Marvel Rep’s production of Feingold’s translation was up for a Drama Desk in 2012, Robert Wilson’s stylized take was at BAM not long ago…now, add to that a truly American adaptation — Less Than Rent’s Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man!

In LTR’s freewheeling musical, the infamous Macheath chases the American dream through time and space, encountering everyone from Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan, to Joe DiMaggio and Michael Jordan, to Bugs Bunny & Jessica Rabbit. It’s as wild as you think it is, and a lot of fun.

Listen in as playwrights Sean Patrick Monahan and James Presson, director Charlie Polinger, and Mac himself, Tom Sanchez, discuss free-association & post-it notes to write your play, how to make it in America, and what happens when your American History book throws up all over The Beggar’s Opera.

“They were sort of taking the audience on a ride and then kicking them out of the car…and so we started trying to find a way that we could do that…”

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Aimee Todoroff, director of “Brecht in the Park”

Elephant Run District presents "Brecht in the Park"Birds chirping. Children playing. Sun. Grass. Epic theatre?

Yep.

In case you’ve never listened to the podcast (or met me), I love Brecht’s work. And I love performances that are out in the open, and free to the public.

In my humble opinion, today’s guest, director Aimee Todoroff, is right—Brecht is indeed perfect for being done outside. Free & open to the public.

…and no purchased seats posing as “subscriber tickets,” taking seats away from the actual “public” (yes, I’m looking at you, oh-other-producer-of-plays-in-Central-Park).

For their first ever Brecht in the Park performance, Elephant Run District presents three of the master’s short plays—The Elephant Calf, In Search of Justice, and The Exception and the Rule—all of which have very strong connections to our current state of affairs.

Listen in as Aimee talks about her inspiration—text-wise & space-wise—for bringing Brecht to Central Park, what’s next for Elephant Run District, and how these plays written in Weimar-era Germany are eerily resonant with New York, NY, USA in 2013.

“How can we put the audience’s experience first, and make them have an experience that they’re going to talk about for the rest of the day?”

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Alec Duffy, director of Hoi Polloi’s production of “Baal”

Hoi Polloi's "Baal"Those of you who know me, the producer of Go See a Show!, know that I love me some Bertolt Brecht. So when I saw there was a chance to see his first play, Baal, presented by Hoi Polloi as part of the Underground Zero Festival, it was the first show I secured tickets for.

I was not disappointed. And you won’t be either — sadly, as I’m posting this there are just two more chances to catch this one, but catch it you should.

Listen in as I chat with the show’s director Alec Duffy about the fire of Baal, making immersive theatre in a former DJ bar-lounge dance-club, erasing the border between the street & the stage, and what’s next for his new Brooklyn performance space, JACK.

Hoi Polloi presents

Baal
by Bertolt Brecht
directed by Alec Duffy

part of the Underground Zero Festival

JACK
505 1/2 Waverly Ave, b/w Fulton & Atlantic
Brooklyn

July 12 – August 5 @ 8PM