I saw *Mother Courage and Her Children* at Classic Stage Company on 12/10. I've seen a few Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill operas but don't think I'd ever seen a professional production of a Brecht play. This is his best-known work, so I was looking forward to it. Plus Tonya Pinkins was playing the title character, so it sounded very promising.
I guess I'll say it wasn't as good as it could have been. The problem was the pacing, it was slack and sluggish. Granted, this was the first preview (aka the first performance before a paying audience), so I'll give them a little leeway, but you would think the pacing would be nailed down in rehearsal.
Pinkins was great as Mother Courage. I saw her in *Caroline, or Change* on Broadway in 2004, and that was a colossal performance. She has great power, and clearly Mother Courage is a role she was born to play. I just wish she had a better production surrounding her.
The songs were by Duncan Sheik. Thankfully there weren't very many of them: they were simple-minded, they noodled around five or six notes, sounded like they took about an hour and a half for him to write them. An hour and a half total for the four or five songs in the show. He should have set aside a whole weekend to work on this project.
There was one element of the show that was nothing short of infuriating. The set designer (or someone) decided that they could heighten the drama by having lots of beige chalky dust on the floor. Every time someone dropped something (which seemed to happen every ten minutes) a cloud of toxic dust rose into the air, burning my eyes and causing much coughing in the audience. Even worse, it settled on the floor and sullied my damn bag! This is not the kind of immersive theatrical experience I'm looking for.
Sadly the highlight of the evening was the dinner I ate before the show: I hadn't been to this theater before, and don't really know the neighborhood. I looked on Google Maps to see what was near 13th St between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, and Jesus Lord I let out a delighted yelp when I saw there was an IHOP right down the street. I got the 2 x 2 x 2: two buttermilk pancakes, two sausage links, two eggs over easy (on a separate plate, to keep them away from the pancakes). And a glass of apple juice on the side. I was in heaven.