On the 27th June, the year 10 drama class along with some new year 9 recruits, headed to the Everyman Theatre to watch a production of “Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)”.
Now don’t worry, the thoughts going through your mind were exactly the same as the ones racing through ours. “Dead Dog in a Suitcase, what kind of name is that?” and “What on earth will it be about?” Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised about the content and outstanding quality of this piece.
Waiting in the stalls with trepidation, the curtains were already open. This allowed us to take in the set immediately and watch as the actors visibly set up. This created so many questions as we tried to decide what the wooden slide might be for and why there was a noose hanging ominously overhead. Then, it started and we were immersed in a fascinating musical number. Realising that the “other love songs” in the title referred to this play being a musical, we sat back with a somewhat different expectation than before. In the first scene Mayor Goodman (the last good man in town) and his dog Toby are shot by the infamous assassin Macheath. This began the turmoil of emotions we would endure for the next two hours.
Quickly enthralled in the action, our confused minds tried desperately to ascertain the genre of the production. There was comedy through Punch and Judy puppetry and hilarious jokes. There was breath-taking music with actors playing their instruments on stage and singing everything from romantic ballads to angry rock pieces. There was tragedy with deaths and endless corruption. Suddenly, the seemingly obnoxious name “Dead dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)” became oddly fitting. The utter bizarreness of poor Mrs Goodman having her dead dog returned to her foreshadowed the strangeness of the piece to come. The “other love songs” were present also- glimmers of hope amongst the corruption and greed.
The recurring phrase used so often by the antihero Macheath sums up the performance. “What is the world coming to?” The whole production was centred around the idea of a world falling apart through corruption, greed and murder. We were forced to question who exactly the heroes and villains were, consider our own morals and truly ask ourselves, “What is our world coming to?” This manic, fast paced piece is oddly poignant to our lives at the moment. Every day we are seeing corruption and hatred and we need to do something about it. For the characters, their story ended with a noose, but ours doesn’t have to. We left with the message that it is not too late- if we act now we will prevent destruction in a way that this town couldn’t.
Overall, this was a fabulous production with a mixture of comedy through to tragedy, brilliant music and breath-taking special effects. It is a sensational re-working of John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera” which puts the drama into a contemporary context making for a relevant yet fantastical production.
Many thanks to the staff who took us on this trip.
Written by Evelyn De Gruyther Year 10