Trash–adorned costumes worn by “3penny” performers
Parkside Theatre opens its 2012-2013 season with seven performances of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's musical "Threepenny Opera," running Oct. 19-28. Directed by Lisa Kornetsky, this provocative musical reveals the hardships and corruption that directly preceded the Great Depression. Student performers don articles of trash to capture the atmosphere of economic downfall and hopelessness.
Costume Design Professor Misti Bradford decided on the unique approach in creating these costumes as a way to incorporate the desperation faced by characters. Trash is strewn throughout the stage as subconscious reminders of poverty, greed, and industry's power over civilians.
Her troop of 50 students collected trash for two and a half weeks. She chose to use brands the audience would recognize.
"We wanted to use trash that would stand out on the street," she says. "It shows how corporate is making a lot of money off of us and how their products are usually bad for the environment and for us."
Wrappers, cigarette packs, newspapers, and receipts are glued onto fabric and overlaid with mesh to create the capes worn by beggars. They were then lightly painted to produce a "dirty" effect. The panhandlers also wear cardboard masks with desperate slogans written on them--"Help," "Homeless," and "God Bless." Aluminum cans are shredded into ribbons for the harlots' hats.
The creation of simple, removable props allows quick costume changes. While the ensemble wears the majority of the trash-adorn props, the main characters wear bits and pieces.
"Everything is exposed to the audience. The show is kind of obscured, so we can get away with it," Bradford says.
The production is in the Black Box Theatre of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities Oct. 19-28. Performances begin Oct. 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees Friday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for Parkside Theatre's production of "Threepenny Opera" are $17 for adults, $13 for seniors and UW-Parkside faculty and staff, and $8 for students. For tickets, visit www.uwp.edu keyword tickets or call 262-595-2564.