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The threepenny opera : connect, confront, create

  • Author(s): Whitlock, Evangeline Rose
  • et al.
Abstract

The theatrical framework provides a storytelling spectrum to explore the human experience. My graduate school stage management work consisted of stories fraught with difficult themes, painful emotions, and graphic sexual imagery. I took notes about the psyche of a child molester during table work for Ronald McCants' new play Refraction. I wrote blocking notation for depictions of the angel Gabriel (Callimaco) and the Virgin Mary (Lucrezia) dissolving into passionate sexual displays in Machiavelli's La Mandragola. In my thesis production, The Threepenny Opera, I called lighting cues while Polly shot up heroin and Mack the Knife sang about abortions. As a stage manager, I am responsible for maintaining the continuity and integrity of a show from pre-production through closing. It is critical that I form authentic and truthful connections with each person and embrace the work even in challenging contexts. My confrontation with content can lead to a company's realization of expression and creativity as I facilitate communication and remain receptive to the redefinition of traditional process. I discovered that Bertolt Brecht's verfremdungseffekt (the distancing effect) works on both the artists involved and the audience who watches. Brecht's plays are alienating and distancing in process and final product. Through my own connectedness to the work as well as my multi-faceted personal and professional advocacy for all artists, I offered a spirit of comfort, safety, and trust for each collaborator. My absolute presence and active engagement allowed me to successfully lead the company through the disconcerting isolation of The Threepenny Opera

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