Dreigroschenoper

By Brecht and Weill. Like so many other works of modernism, it might initially seem out-of-date and moralistic. But the irony really hits you in waves.

Its scandalous nature might not be obvious to us. The real scandal of the work today is not so much the open mentioning of prostitution. Even someone who in fact found this scandalous would most likely not admit this in public. We now expect theater to be provoking. And we have witnessed this need for provocation turn theater into a desperate struggle for even more scandal. But scandal in Brecht has a function – it uncovers our hypocrite-selfs. And it succeeds precisely because its subject matter seems so out-of-date. Our hypocrisy very much consists in regarding “class struggle” and “the human condition” as out-of-date. What the Dreigroschenoper really does is remind us of this and it offers us a couple of moves we like to make in response, thereby making quite clear just how cynical they are. Calling this moralistic just shows that here our hypocrite-selfs have suffered a blow, and one that watching South Park didn’t prepare us for.

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