DragPennyOpera by Nina’s Drag Queens is a comedy and, at the same time, a tragedy; a bittersweet play with sparkling and creepy features, a dark portrait of our humanity.
It is dawn. In the courtyard of a prison, under the scaffold, a platoon of widows attends the execution of the bandit Macheath. They are his women: Polly, the wife, along with her mother the entrepreneur Peachum; Lucy, the lover, daughter of Tigra, police chief; and Jenny, prostitute and old love. With a “film noir” voice, Macheath traces back the plot as a shadow: the solitary man, the eternally absent, loved, hated, and finally gnawed down to the bone.
In the ensemble style favored by the troupe, this show brims over with women extreme in their feelings and both disturbing and beastly in their behaviour. Funny, exaggerated, ironic characters: drag queens, in fact.
This work is inspired by “The Beggar’s Opera” by John Gay, an “anti-opera” written in 1728 that mixes classical music with drinking song, “high theater” with parody, all brought together by the blackest of satire. Similarly, Nina’s Drag Queens draws on the repertoire of contemporary music, reinventing the pop imagery surrounding us, and they do it with the same cheerful ferocity of John Gay, with a biting and politically incorrect humor.
It is impossible to watch at “The Beggar’s Opera” without thinking of its most famous remake, “The Threepenny Opera” by Brecht / Weill. This has led Nina’s Drag Queens to a deeper approach with the audience, reflecting on the role of theater in society as a commentary on the ethics of our time.
To this day the Drag Queen experiences a perpetual estrangement effect. This accords her a free, postmodern mask; in other words, the ideal tool to forge theatre into what it should be: a battleground where ideas clash. The artifice of lip-sync in itself is a lie; yet, in the context of dramaturgy exposes the essence of the truth.
A Nina’s Drag Queens’ show
inspired by “The Beggar’s Opera” written by John Gay
with: Alessio Calciolari, Gianluca Di Lauro, Stefano Orlandi, Lorenzo Piccolo, Ulisse Romanò
choreography: Alessio Calciolari | dramaturgy: Lorenzo Piccolo
direction: Sax Nicosia
costumes: Gianluca Falaschi | scenes: Nathalie Deana | original music: Diego Mingolla
artwork: Donato Milkyeyes Sansone | wigs: Mario Audello | lighting design: Luna Mariotti
dresser : Rosa Mariotti | assistant director: Mila Casali
production: Aparte – Ali per l’arte
thanks to: la Corte Ospitale – Progetto Residenze, ATIR-Teatro Ringhiera
with the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo for the project fUNDER35
show selected at NEXT Lab 2014 – Lumbardy Region
“With a touch of impertinence, we could say that after Brecht/Weill there are Nina’s Drag Queens. DragPennyOpera is a remake of the eighteenth-century Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. Not a parody with a eccentric perspective but, as in The Cherry Orchard, an interesting mixture of camp style and theatrical codes, actor and mask. The lip-sync is combined with choreographies, perfectly matched songs and live interpretations (notably Stefano Orlandi), while the writing of Lorenzo Piccolo moves through words and songs, quoting Brecht, Anna Magnani and Monica Vitti. (…) Sax Nicosia, the director, exalts contrasts. (…) Ironic, funny, at its core melancholic. (…) You can’t help but loving them.”
Sara Chiappori, REPUBBLICA
“This magical and cruel world resonates in the unconscious of the spectator, that deep space that deals with game, paradox , disguise and a bit of ruthlessness. (…) Opulent, muscular, engaging“
Eleonora Cattaneo, SUL ROMANZO
“A successful attempt to make the Drag queen a complete actress, both dramatic and comic , surreal and grotesque, with a potential that no actor could ever embody”.
Daniele Stefanoni, DRAMMA.IT
“A light-hearted way to speak of the beast within all human beings.”
Adele Labbate, RECENSITO