The Scrapheap of Capitalism

The 2010 La Fura dels Baus Madrid production of Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is much the best version of the piece I’ve seen on DVD.  The production starts and ends on a rubbish dump and the dump and its people, curiously reminiscent of the vegetarian terrorists in Delicatessen, are present pretty much all the time.  It doesn’t pull any punches and tackles Brecht’s characteristically unsubtle parody of commodity capitalism straight on and without sentimentality or apology.  Perhaps the most effective scene is the sort of “orgy by Frederick Taylor” that accompanies Second comes the loving match in Act 2 but there are lots of telling moments from the widow Begbick first appearing from a derelict fridge to the pyre of mattresses on which Jim is executed.  Curiously perhaps the piece is given in Michael Feingold’s English translation but it’s a very good translation and little or nothing is lost.

Continue reading