On Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (LRMA), four SPC theater students (and their professor) assisted in a gallery talk entitled “An Introduction to Satirical Opera”. Gail Simon, LRMA docent and researcher, who is also a student of theater, presented an intricately detailed account of John Gay’s “Beggar’s Opera” and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera.” She explained how these pieces of theater inspired artists Abraham Rattner and Jack Levine to produce print portfolios of scenes and characters from and about the theater pieces that are amazing and haunting.
Theater students delight audience with opera selections
In addition to the gallery talk, theater students Kayla Witoshynsky, Chelsea Hooker and Connor Hodge performed and sang three selections for the small attentive audience from “Threepenny Opera” accompanied by Bill Bryant on the piano in the intimate space in front of the sketches and prints. Theater professor Scott Cooper also gave insight on how the plays were put together and how some of these songs (Mack the Knife) have become musical favorites.
“Brecht is one of my theater heroes—never afraid of being on the edges of society and always wanting to talk about important things that matter,” said Cooper. “He even did it in an entertaining way so that the audience was enjoying themselves but listening to words that might inspire action—political or otherwise!”.
The audiences reaction was delight. The songs, although a bit risque, were done well and the question and answer period after the performance was full of well thought out questions about how theater can affect art, society and, well, everything. One spectator in the audience exclaimed that “they didn’t just sing the songs, they acted them very well—while singing!” which is a huge compliment for the theater department and these talented theater students.
Future collaborations will hopefully be talked about between the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and the SPC Theater Department. The Theater Department performed Edward Albee’s “The Sandbox” at the opening of the museum in 2002.