Seeing “Threepenny Opera” in Berlin!

So… yesterday I told the tale of our visit to Sachsenhausen on Boxing Day, 2007.  A long, grim, thought-provoking, brain-stretching day.

And what did we do when our train arrived back in Berlin?  Rest in our hotel?  Go to dinner?  Let’s see what my journal has to say about this:

“After a quiet train ride back to Berlin, Andrew took us straight to the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm to attempt to get tickets for ‘The Threepenny Opera’.”

Berlin Trip 2007 152.jpg

That’s “Mack the Knife”.

Yes, we abruptly switched gears, and kept right on trucking along.  Andrew knew Bertolt Brecht’s extraordinary pop-opera was by being performed by the Berliner Ensemble, which Brecht himself established in 1949 in THE essential place to see it — The Theater am Schiffbauerdamm.

We couldn’t let this opportunity pass us by — we should at least try to get tickets.

“The theatre had a weird system for walk-up tickets… we had to wait for an hour just to get our names on a list!  When we finally got our name on the list, we STILL hadn’t eaten all day, so we hurried out to grab some currywurst at a little place nearby.  It was okay, but I’m not sure I get the attraction.”

Berlin Trip 2007 149.jpg

Our first taste of currywurst. Apparently it wasn’t love at first bite for me. Odd, because I love it now.

“We arrived back at the theatre in time to find it now completely packed out with a HUGE crowd frantically clamouring for tickets.  I mean, this play’s a big deal, and EVERYONE wanted to see it.  By this time we had invested nearly two hours in the ticket-acquiring process, and had no idea if we’d actually get them, or be turned away.”

I wrote in an email to Eliza:

“But out of the madness and language barrier, we actually got tickets.  We had no idea where our seats were, but when I showed my ticket to an usher, she merely turned around, unlocked a door, and ushered us into our very own box seat!  Just the two of us!  It was AMAZING — I’d always wanted to sit in one of those!  Just so delighted.  Obviously we couldn’t understand much of what was going on in the play, but it was the most elaborate, creative, stunning performances I’ve ever seen. The sets, hair, make-up…  It was awesome, very much like the German Expressionist films of the 20’s and 30’s.  Such a great experience.  Too bad pictures weren’t allowed.”

Berlin Trip 2007 154.jpg

Inside the Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm. This photo must have been taken surreptitiously.

My journal continues predictably:

“Then I was hungry for McDonald’s.  In hindsight, I realize I was hungry for Canadian McDonald’s (ew, I know) not German McDonald’s (even more ew, as it turns out).  I ordered too much, didn’t eat the fries, and had a McChicken even though I really wanted a cheeseburger.  Then we returned to our hotel and I consumed a Toblerone bar while Andrew enjoyed a beer.”

The next day’s journal entry begins on a promising note:

“We’re exhausted and in pain.”



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