the B-Side Opera

book and lyrics by Marc Heiden
music by James Johnson

after John Gay.

Cast of Characters

Walford, Stanbrook wealthy old men
Filch in the present day, a cook; in the past, an agent of the Peachums
Jonah Peachum the head of a vast organization of criminals and beggars
Heinrich Volker a young Berlinner
Vanessa Peachum the cunning wife of Jonah
Gerhard Smith Berlin police officer
Walt, Roland members of Macheath's gang
Jenny, Sarah, Cindy whores
Macheath Murphy an American expatriate
Tyler Brown liason from the American embassy to the East German police
Polly Peachum the daughter of the Peachums
Lucy Brown the daughter of Tyler
Hoppstedt the business rival of Peachum
A Servant, a Minister, an Attendant, a Deputy, two Guards, various Men
and Beggars aplenty

Scenes and Songs

prologue: A stately manor

act one, scene one: An office
- "Suffering" (Peachum)
act one, scene two: A brothel
- "Lost" (Macheath, Jenny)
- "Hollywood" (Macheath, Brown)
- "Perfect" (Polly)
act one, scene three: An office
- "Family" (Mrs Peachum)
act one, scene four: An alley
- "Hollywood (Reprise)" (Macheath)
scene five: A prison
- "Dreams" (Lucy)
- "Lies" (Lucy, Polly)
- "Black and White (Act One Finale)" (Brown, Macheath)

act two, scene one: An office
- "All Over" (Beggars)
- "Sailing" (Peachum)
act two, scene two: A brothel
- "Summer" (Jenny)
act two, scene three: An alley
- "Kindness" (Lucy, Polly)
act two, scene four: A prison
- "Doubt" (Macheath)

epilogue: A stately manor
- "You'll Never Know (Finale from The B-Side Opera)" (Filch)


(WALFORD and STANBROOK are flipping cards to the floor. the game is a
simple contest of one-upsmanship, but they play it seriously and intensely)

WALFORD: Three of hearts.
STANBROOK: Seven of clubs.
WALFORD: Nine of clubs.
STANBROOK: (reluctant) Six of diamonds.
WALFORD: (smug) Jack of spades.
STANBROOK: (brightly) Queen of hearts!
WALFORD: The hell you do.
STANBROOK: Queen of hearts.
STANBROOK: I play by the rules.
WALFORD: There's no skill with you. All chance.
STANBROOK: I've picked up a few skills in my time.
WALFORD: Precious few.
STANBROOK: You're out to win, same as anyone else.
WALFORD: I wouldn't lie to do it.
STANBROOK: Of course you would.
WALFORD: Ah-ha! King of spades!
STANBROOK: King of clubs.
WALFORD: Spades beat clubs.
STANBROOK: The hell they do.
WALFORD: From cradle to grave. King of spades.
STANBROOK: (triumphant) Ace of diamonds!
WALFORD: Bullshit!
STANBROOK: Read it and weep!
WALFORD: Bullshit!
STANBROOK: Ace of diamonds.
WALFORD: It's a crime, the way you bastardize this poor game.
STANBROOK: I play it and I win it.
WALFORD: You reduce it to a base contest of luck.
STANBROOK: Of skill.
WALFORD: Of chance.
STANBROOK: Of ability.
WALFORD: You wouldn't know a thing.
STANBROOK: I know a thing or two.
WALFORD: Name one.
WALFORD: The hell you did.

(they glare at each other in silence)

WALFORD: Indeed.
STANBROOK: Care for a game?
WALFORD: I've had enough of games.
STANBROOK: What else is there?
WALFORD: Tell a story.
STANBROOK: You tell one.
WALFORD: I can't.
WALFORD: I'm comfortable right now. You start.
STANBROOK: Fine. There was once…there was…in the time, once upon a man…well…they lived happily after.
WALFORD: I don't believe you.
WALFORD: I don't like the characters.
STANBROOK: Don't project your shallowness on them.
WALFORD: What do they even do?
STANBROOK: The characters?
STANBROOK: They win at cards.
STANBROOK: They get the ace of diamonds.
WALFORD: All of them?
WALFORD: They cheated.
STANBROOK: You wouldn't know.
WALFORD: I know a thing or two. (pauses) Tell another.
STANBROOK: I haven't got any others.
WALFORD: You know what would be nice?
STANBROOK: Again with your demands.
WALFORD: A mountain.
STANBROOK: To look at?
WALFORD: Right outside of the window.
STANBROOK: Why a mountain?
WALFORD: Someone might climb it.
STANBROOK: Hmm. Will he make it to the top?
WALFORD: I think he's slipping!
STANBROOK: Hang on there, sport!
WALFORD: It'd be great to see.
STANBROOK: Shame these are flatlands.
WALFORD: Call the help. Have them build one.
STANBROOK: Can they do that?
WALFORD: Mine built a lake yesterday.
STANBROOK: Impressive.
WALFORD: Well, I know how to hire 'em.
STANBROOK: A mountain, eh?
WALFORD: A breeze, assuming your lot is up to snuff.
STANBROOK: Don't you worry about that. (rings a bell) Someone!
WALFORD: Is he the right man?
WALFORD: Someone?
STANBROOK: Sometimes. (rings again) Someone!

(FILCH enters, dirty from washing dishes)

FILCH: Yeah?
WALFORD: Are you someone?
FILCH: I'm Filch. I work in the kitchen.
STANBROOK: I'm your boss.
FILCH: So I hear.
STANBROOK: We'd like a mountain.
FILCH: A mountain?
FILCH: (slowly) I'm sorry, I don't think we have any in stock.
STANBROOK: No mountains, indeed. What is it that you do back there?
FILCH: I wash dishes.
STANBROOK: I've seen my dishes. They're clean. Why would I pay you to wash them?
FILCH: (turning to leave) If there's nothing else…
STANBROOK: Shape up or ship out, Milk.
FILCH: Filch.
STANBROOK: What kind of a name is that? Is it French?
FILCH: No, it's ten years. Two less for good behavior.
WALFORD: (brightly) Behavior!
STANBROOK: What about it?
WALFORD: Human behavior. That's what stories are about. The author makes sharp, incisive observations about human behavior.
STANBROOK: And he obviously knows a thing or two…
WALFORD: He said it was good behavior. I can't wait.
STANBROOK: Alright then, Belch. Tell us a story.
FILCH: What kind of a story?
WALFORD: Drama, and comedy, and incisive observations about human behavior.
FILCH: I wash dishes. I don't tell stories.
WALFORD: Sure you do. You've got dirt on your pants and grime on your shirt. Obviously you've seen a thing or two. What did you do when you were younger?
FILCH: I lived in Berlin.
WALFORD: What did you do there?
FILCH: I worked.
WALFORD: What kind of work?
FILCH: Look, I…
SERVANT: (entering) Filch, one of the elephants has diarrhea. Come on, we've got to clean it up.
STANBROOK: (smiles fondly) Ah, the elephants.
WALFORD: You've got elephants?
WALFORD: I've got a hippopotamus.
STANBROOK: Sucks to be you.
FILCH: You said you'd like to hear a story?
FILCH: (to SERVANT) Sorry. They've got me on this job.
SERVANT: But it's 24 pounds of…
FILCH: (smiles) Nothing I can do about it.

(annoyed, the SERVANT exits. FILCH turns to WALFORD and STANBROOK)

FILCH: Now. This is a true story, so listen carefully. The year was 1961. After the second World War, Germany was split in two. Things were pretty tense…
STANBROOK: Did they sing?
FILCH: What?
STANBROOK: Even though it was tense, did they sing?
FILCH: Sure. We all sang. Now, as I was saying, things were pretty tense between the two sides. The west was capitalist, and the east was communist…and the entire world was watching to see which one would come out on top. Our story takes place in the east, in the city of Berlin. Friendly to insiders, not so friendly to outsiders. People on the outside had to do all sorts of things to survive, including…crime.
FILCH: You don't know the half of it.

Act One

scene one

(HEINRICH enters, timidly. FILCH, sitting behind the desk, notices him first)

PEACHUM: (musing) If that's the ratio, then obviously we'll need to reevaluate our position. The question, though, is...
FILCH: (to HEINRICH) Can I help you?
HEINRICH: Ah, hi. I'm, ah, my name is...well, if that's what you're looking for, I mean… (FILCH stares) Would you mind if I, um, if I come in, would it…(unfolds a paper and reads from it) I'm looking for Mr. Peachum's, well, that is to say, his, or him, even, um…
FILCH: Mr. Peachum is a very busy man. Do you have an appointment?
HEINRICH: No, I just wanted to talk to him about, perhaps, a job, if it wouldn't…
FILCH: If you don't have an appointment…
PEACHUM: (perking up, to FILCH) Now, now, no need to stickle for details. (to HEINRICH) Hello there. Don't mind my assistant. He does his best. He's a stickler for details. Personally, I've always felt appointments unjust. Bureaucratic claptrap. The way they're running things these days, you need an appointment to make an appointment. It's ridiculous. People need to talk to each other, don't you think?
PEACHUM: Glad you agree. I really can't stand people who don't know how to communicate.
HEINRICH: I know what you…
PEACHUM: But obviously you're not one of those people, because you've taken the vital first step of arriving upon my doorstep. Welcome. I am Jonah Peachum. And you are?
HEINRICH: Heinrich Volker.
PEACHUM: Volker. A son of the fine city of Berlin, are you not?
HEINRICH: Do you mean, was I born, or do…
PEACHUM: (to FILCH) Not one for language. Note that.
FILCH: Noted.
HEINRICH: Well, I wouldn't say…
PEACHUM: And that's what I like about you. What you leave unsaid. Now, what can I do for you?
HEINRICH: Well, as I said…or, rather, as you may have heard, that is, if you were nearby when I said it, or if I said loud enough…I need a job.
HEINRICH: If I'm in the wrong place…
PEACHUM: You want a job?
HEINRICH: (backing away) Oh. I received bad information, obviously, and, ah, your time, I'm sorry…did I say "job"? I meant…
PEACHUM: No, no, it's quite alright. I have jobs to offer. Tell me, Heinrich. What's on your mind?
PEACHUM: What haunts your sleep? What's waiting on your lips when you awake? What kills the taste of your food, what numbs your eyes to the sun, what is it? What brings you here?
HEINRICH: (hesitant) I need to get out of East Germany.
HEINRICH: I'd rather not...
PEACHUM: Please. If I'm going to hire you, I've got to know these things.
HEINRICH: (reluctantly) He blames me. Her brother. It was…a mistake, basically…we had been drinking, and then we were swimming, you see, she was, and I was, and games that lovers play…the rains came, and I said it was magnificent, the rain from underwater. The entire world reversed…water falling upwards. The rains came, and lightning struck the water. I was out, but she wanted to see…
PEACHUM: The world reversed.
HEINRICH: Yes. And, well…her brother blames me. He's in the army. He's a man of rank, connections, and he's angry…I need to get out of the country. I don't care what he does to me…really, I deserve anything…but his anger has bearing for my family, for anyone I'm around…I don't want them to suffer the consequences. So I need to be away from Berlin.
PEACHUM: So you wouldn't be working for cash.
HEINRICH: Well, if possible, whatever currency, that is, if we could arrange…
PEACHUM: An exit visa.
HEINRICH: Oh! That's...I'm not assuming, but...
PEACHUM: Yes, Heinrich. I can arrange for an exit visa. I am a man of means, and you are a man to whom I have taken a liking. You've got a good spirit, Heinrich. It's an important thing, spirit. Regardless of whatever unfortunate circumstance you're trapped in, there's something about you that's endearing to the most crass of observers. Something that says you're worthy of aid. That'll take you far in this world.
HEINRICH: Thanks! So, you...
PEACHUM: It's unfortunate, our country's policies regarding coming and going. They're tight. Restrictive. Not terribly understanding of situations like yours. No one's allowed to leave without a reason, and the situation you wind up with is that no one gets out, because it's rather difficult to supply reasons for unreasonable people, isn't it?
HEINRICH: I suppose so.
PEACHUM: And it's getting harder all the time. Have you heard the rumors?
HEINRICH: The rumors?
PEACHUM: Word has it they're building a wall between us and the West…a wall blocking off the entire city. Nobody knows for sure what's going to happen. Just think about it, a wall that size…quite a thing. It's going to be a challenge to get you out of here, Heinrich. But we're going to do it. It'll take some work, that's all. Are you willing to do what has to be done?
HEINRICH: I assure you, I'm quite a hard worker.
PEACHUM: Excellent. Welcome to Peachum Enterprises, Heinrich.
HEINRICH: (smiles nervously) Thank you. I've got to confess, I don't even know what it is that you do here…what will I be doing?
PEACHUM: A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

(a scruffy BEGGAR walks by on his way out of the office)

PEACHUM: Hey! You!
BEGGAR: (startled) Yes?
PEACHUM: Are you in my employ?
PEACHUM: And you're on your way out to work…looking like that?
BEGGAR: (nervous) Yes.
PEACHUM: It may come as news to you, but we have a reputation to uphold here. Presentation is all. Come here.

(PEACHUM examines the BEGGAR, thinks, and then pulls on his hair - eliciting a yelp - rips his shirt, thinks for another moment, and then smacks him. PEACHUM nods and the BEGGAR starts to walk away but PEACHUM motions for the BEGGAR to come back, kicks him in the shins, and then gives a satisfied nod. the BEGGAR limps offstage)

PEACHUM: Much better. There's no excuse for not looking your worst.
HEINRICH: (bewildered) You want him to look bad?
PEACHUM: It's a business, Heinrich, that's what we're running here. Probably not a word that you've heard often. What are you, eighteen, nineteen years old…only vague, distant memories of the war. All you know is the Communist system. And a great one it is! Ended the capitalist nightmare, drove out the bourgeoise demon…no complaints here.
FILCH: Phone call for you, boss.
PEACHUM: Excuse me, Heinrich. (picks up the phone) Peachum here. Yes…you don't…well, that's not acceptable. We're going to need more. (listens) Then take some personal initiative! You've got a hammer over there, right? Cut out the middle man! Make them yourself! (hangs up)
HEINRICH: Is there a problem?
PEACHUM: District 13 is out of cripples.
HEINRICH: (shocked) Cripples! What are you doing with…
PEACHUM: What am I doing with them? Enhancing marketability, getting in sync with supply and demand. What kind of a world do you see outside, Heinrich? Do you see a land of opportunity?

"Suffering" (Peachum)

We live in extraordinary times
Rockets heading from here to the Moon
Mouths on Earth are never quite full
When baby's done, there is nothing for you

If you've had it with all of the lies
Movies saying that dreams can come true
Pack up your bags and pick up a brush
for this fine and noble art

Survival is a tricky game
All the other workers have got the same
Two hands to show the boss
Once it was enough but now it's not
The jobs today are looking for
A fast new robot to do the chores
No one wants a human being
Nothing compares to a killer machine
So you sleep out on the street
Your money's gone, the rats will eat
Your fingertips
Nothing to give, no will to live

But suffering's an open field
Financial opportunities every day
You could sell your hands for a dime
Or you could sell your pain for seventy-nine
The wealthy ones want to know that they
Do the right thing so they will pay
A buck or two to see you fucked
Seven dollars extra to inflict the cut
No more the welfare checks for the average Joe
You could be the crack baby to whom they owe
The press release
Your belly's full, a rash is all

You need to buy into the scene
Make yourself a player on the silver screen
They're lining up to be sorry for you
Bleeding hearts dripping over what to do
How to save the world from a couch
Won't get dirty hands if they never go out
Catastrophies all across the world
Tragic photographs need a starving girl
Feels great to help someone far away
Jesus blessed the sick by sparing change
For charity
Good deed
A penny gift, a lovely trip

Millionaires, they have it tough
A conscience haunts their sleep
Surely you could do your part
And bleed there in the street

Suffering's an open field
Financial opportunities every day
You could sell your hands for a dime
Or you could sell your pain for seventy-nine
The wealthy ones want to know that they
Do the right thing so they will pay
A buck or two to see you fucked
Seven dollars extra to inflict the cut
No more the welfare checks for the average Joe
You could be the crack baby to whom they owe
The press release
Thanks, sir
Your belly's full, a rash is all
A poster boy
You feed yourself, fuck someone else
Try misery
It'll set you free

It's a lucrative kind of way to be.

PEACHUM: You can start right away. Head through those doors and we'll have someone show you the ropes. Filch, if you will?

(FILCH guides HEINRICH offstage and returns)

PEACHUM: I think he'll do quite well in this organization.
FILCH: Probably.
PEACHUM: Where shall we place him?
FILCH: (checking ledger) We're short in the leper division.
PEACHUM: Is Benny scheduled tonight?
FILCH: He's on at seven.
PEACHUM: Okay. Have Benny rub up against the new kid, get him started.
FILCH: Gotcha.
PEACHUM: What's on the agenda for the rest of today, Filch?
FILCH: Smith will be by in a few minutes about a government job. Some flipper babies in District 7 are thinking about going independent, we'll need to slap them around a bit. Rumor has it that one of the religious fanatics in District 4 is using drugs. I've got a line out on it.
PEACHUM: I don't understand why they do that to themselves. Nothing ruins a good fanatic like drug addiction.
FILCH: Oh, and one more thing…

(MRS PEACHUM enters)

MRS PEACHUM: Jonah, we have a problem.
FILCH: Your wife's been looking for you all day.
PEACHUM: (sighs) What's the situation?
MRS PEACHUM: Something's going on with Polly. She came home late again last night and had that certain air about her…I think she's seeing someone.
PEACHUM: Any idea who?
PEACHUM: Well, let's not rush to panic. Don't you trust our daughter's instincts?
MRS PEACHUM: No, and neither do you.
PEACHUM: True. Filch, can you look into it?
FILCH: I'll see what I can find out.
MRS PEACHUM: Thank you, Filch. You're a true gentleman.
FILCH: No, I'm not. But I'll do my best.

(SMITH enters)

PEACHUM: Smith, old boy! What a pleasant surprise.
SMITH: Peachum. Madame.
PEACHUM: I love it when the government comes calling. Doesn't happen nearly often enough. (to FILCH) Isn't that so?
FILCH: I've noted you saying so in the past. Would you like me to note it again?
PEACHUM: Yes, by all means. Spare no notes. Smith, what can we do for you?
SMITH: You may have heard that the government is looking to award a contract. There's a diplomatic contingent coming through the capital of West Germany next week. Being under the rule of the capitalist bourgeoise, the place is a nightmare already. We want any photographs taken during the visit to reflect that.
PEACHUM: Who are the visitors?
SMITH: A very high-ranking humanitarian group. Officials and journalists from all over the world. We want the place looking really bad. The government over there knows how important this is. They'll have gone over those streets with a scrub brush. We need you to pull out all the stops. Expose the reality of life under capitalist rule.
PEACHUM: I can have something ready.
SMITH: Hoppstedt already has a bid in. He says he's got a crack team of lepers for half the price you charge.
MRS PEACHUM: Look, we don't need to defend our reputation. Every time this government has needed to show the world the true face of pain and sorrow, Peachum Enterprises has been there with bells on. You go with Hoppstedt, you get what you pay for. The man does shoddy work, plain and simple. Give him an order for sick pregnant mothers and he'll send out a bunch of fat women with the flu. He's got no commitment to excellence. We use genuine materials. You see the difference with our work. We'll turn those humanitarians' stomachs upside down. They'll be so shocked by the situation over there in the West that they'll be screaming for a proletarian uprising before they get out of the car. We've got the skill, we've got the experience and we've got the resources. It's up to you. You can go with Hoppstedt if you want to save a few bucks. But if you're serious about getting this job done, you'll give us the contract.
SMITH: Alright. Draw up a proposal and we're in business.
PEACHUM: I'll have it ready tomorrow morning.
SMITH: See you then. (exits)
MRS PEACHUM: Hoppstedt indeed. That guy makes my blood boil. (a BEGGAR walks across the stage on his way out to work) Hey, you! Get some boils. They'll look great with that limp.
BEGGAR: Yes, ma'am. (exits)
PEACHUM: Ever the charmer. What do I do without you, darling?
MRS PEACHUM: You babble, mostly. Scratch yourself every once in awhile, the occasional burp.
PEACHUM: Ah, family life.
MRS PEACHUM: The situation with Polly is serious, Jonah. A girl of her age is vulnerable, and there are sharks about…I won't have her falling into the clutches of some golden-tongued opportunist.
PEACHUM: I know. Bring her in when she gets home, we'll find out what's going on.

(MRS PEACHUM exits. PEACHUM sits down and sighs)

PEACHUM: Alright, let's start putting something together for tomorrow. What do we have available?
FILCH: (handing over some files) Here's what we have to work with.
PEACHUM: (studying the files, shaking his head) Are we ever going to get some more pregnant mothers in here or do I have to go fuck them myself?

scene two

(WALT and ROLAND are arguing. SARAH sits at the table working in the ledger.
in the background, the occasional sexual groan is audible)

WALT: I'm telling you, I've seen them before!
ROLAND: You're full of shit.
WALT: Candles are important for weddings. They're all…symbolic. You know, like pictures.
ROLAND: Pictures of what?
WALT: The years are passing away, so people have to get married before they're too old. Like if the candle ran out of wax, then it wouldn't burn any more.
ROLAND: Where'd you hear that?
WALT: My sister's wedding.
ROLAND: That explains it. Your sister's a pyromaniac nutjob.
WALT: Don't you talk about my sister like that!
ROLAND: I'm not saying anything the police haven't.
WALT: All the same. (checks his watch) Sarah!
SARAH: Have you two made up your minds yet?
WALT: Oh, we're not here for a go.
WALT: Shut up. This is important. Sarah, we need your help. Mack's going to be here soon.
SARAH: What's going on?
ROLAND: We have to get this place fixed up nice.
WALT: I don't mean it looks bad.
ROLAND: I like it. Has that certain charm.
WALT: Yeah, it does. But we need to get it ready for the wedding.
SARAH: The what?
ROLAND: Mack's wedding. Duh.
SARAH: Walt, Roland, this is a whorehouse! Not a church!
SARAH: People come in here to get fucked, not married!
WALT: Hey, I don't want to debate gender politics with you. All I know is Mack said he's having his wedding in here and he's on his way over.
SARAH: Oh god, Suky Tawdry's going to kill me…

(a MAN emerges from offstage and zips up his pants. he takes a gold watch from his pocket and checks the time. JENNY follows him out, dressed only in a nightgown, and watches as he drops a few coins on the table)

JENNY: Cheapskate.

(the MAN starts to leave but bumps into another MAN whose
features are obscured by a large overcoat and hat)

MAN: Watch where you're going, gutter-trash!
MAN2: I'm sorry, sir. Please accept my apologies.
MAN: Fuck off. (exits)
SARAH: (to the second MAN) Can I help you?

(the second MAN takes off his coat and hat to reveal that he is MACHEATH)

MACHEATH: (affected accent) Help a poor old soul, love?
JENNY: (shrieks with joy, jumps into his arms) Mackie!
MACHEATH: (grins) Baby, I'm yours. Let's make everything right again.
JENNY: I missed you!
MACHEATH: It's been a nightmare, every moment apart.
WALT: We tried to get the place ready, boss…
ROLAND: Why didn't you beat the crap out of that guy for giving you trouble?
MACHEATH: (flashes the gold watch) After he gave me such a nice gift? It'd be rude. (holds out the watch to JENNY) Jenny, please accept this token of my love.
JENNY: (amused) Mackie, I know where you got that from. I just fucked him.
MACHEATH: Screw it then. (throws the watch away) Who wants to know what time it is anyway?
SARAH: (annoyed) Macheath, what's this about you getting married?

(JENNY pulls away and looks devastated. MACHEATH shrugs)

MACHEATH: Just a way to spend a lazy Saturday.
SARAH: You can't do it here.
MACHEATH: Why not?
SARAH: We've got customers!
SARAH: They come in here to get away from marital bliss, Macheath.
MACHEATH: Oh, come on. Just imagine it, all those poor horny bastards…wouldn't it be fantastic? Every man in Berlin, mad with lust because Suky Tawdry's is closed for the night and he's stuck with his wife. What'll happen to the city? All those frustrated urges might swallow it whole. Be interesting to see.

(CINDY enters)

CINDY: What's going on?
JENNY: (quietly) You're getting married, Mackie?
MACHEATH: It's just something I have to do. It's time for…
WALT: (to ROLAND) See? Candles!
MACHEATH: (glares at WALT, then to JENNY) Jenny, it doesn't mean I don't feel…
JENNY: (glancing at his midsection) Oh, I never doubted that you had feelings for me.
MACHEATH: Ow. (smiles) Shit. Um, look. I…things just happened. I don't know. I didn't feel like I could say no.
JENNY: Fine.
MACHEATH: She's a really nice girl. She…
JENNY: Fine.
MACHEATH: What? You…oh. Um.
JENNY: Just do it somewhere else.
MACHEATH: Fucking hell. I've done it again.

"Lost" (Macheath, Jenny)

Can't you see, girl, I'm lost
I have never known the way
If I make you laugh or cry
Then I know what I have to do
But sitting here outside
Seeing nothing on your face
I lose control trying to fill
The spaces lay between us
Where I once did lay with you

So I fuck up
And I find myself
Saying things I don't believe
Telling lies
Bloody hands
Mistakes across my side
The man I am
Should I say "become"
Don't like it much
It leaves a stain
I would change it up
Baby, if I could
I would leave it all behind
Away my skin
Into someone else
Lose myself
Like you lost me first
And spend some time with you

Is there a second chance for
A man who already had seven
If there is a way then just
Tell me what to do
The man I was
I will burn him down
I will set a fire, I will rise
From the ashes into you

Can't you see, boy, I'm lost
There's no answer here
You told her 'yes'
Now you can't say 'no'
Think the silence gets to you
Well, it doesn't get so far
Like it gets inside my bed
I don't want to hear you say
You're sorry for the man you are
Just tell me where I'm standing
So I know the way
To look away from you

Listen to me
One more time
You and I
Had a night
Someday we could have two
Soon enough
I will marry her
She can have the ring from me
You can have
My rainy nights
My candle stares and low-lit dares
You can have
The best of me
Whatever's left
A little soul
I already lost in you
Late at night
We played a song
Sung by a man
With a voice
Telling tales of woe
Memories take their shape
You and I
Had a night
Someday we could have two
Soon enough
You will marry her
She can have the ring from you
Tell me about
Your rainy nights
Your candle stares and low-lit dares
No one else
Is giving much
So I'll take with sweet regret
You can have
The best of me
Whatever's left
A little soul
I already lost in you

(everyone looks at each other for a moment until SARAH breaks the silence)

SARAH: Ah, what the hell. Let's send our favorite son off right!
CINDY: I've got a nice blanket that we could use for a rug.
CINDY: All on one side. We can turn it over.
MACHEATH: Fine. (CINDY runs off) Some…art? You know, culture?
SARAH: Jenny's got a statue. It's Greek.
MACHEATH: Great! What is it?
JENNY: It's based on Michelangelo's "David".
JENNY: Except in this one, he's giving it to a girl from behind.
MACHEATH: Can we cover her up with some flowers?
JENNY: I'll see what I can do. (exits)
MACHEATH: So far, so good…shit! The ring!
SARAH: You haven't got a ring?
MACHEATH: I was dealing in oranges today.
SARAH: Your wedding day, and you were stealing oranges?
MACHEATH: They spoil! I didn't have a choice. Diamonds are forever, or hadn't you heard?
SARAH: Never had one.
MACHEATH: No loss. They don't taste very good.
SARAH: (rolls her eyes) Hold on. (walks offstage)
ROLAND: Anything you want us to work on, Mack?
WALT: I could get some candles.
MACHEATH: What is this bizarre obsession you have with candles?

(a yelp is heard and a MAN comes stumbling onstage, half-clothed. SARAH follows him out. WALT and ROLAND look at MACHEATH, who nods. they grab the MAN)

MAN: What? What did I do?
MACHEATH: There comes a time in every man's life when he is called upon to serve a higher good. This, my friend, is your time.
MAN: Huh?
MACHEATH: Boys, we've no time for subtlety. Please be concise.

(WALT and ROLAND drag the MAN offstage and sounds of a one-sided fight are audible. SARAH straightens MACHEATH's outfit)

MACHEATH: Ah, whorehouses. Better selection of wedding rings than any jewelry store in Berlin.

(BROWN enters. instantly, he feels awkward)

MACHEATH: (cheerful) Brown! Where the hell have you been?
BROWN: Your bride is waiting in the car. (looks around disapprovingly) A brothel, Mack? You're getting married in a brothel?
MACHEATH: Don't knock it. They're very helpful here. Tyler, do you know the beautiful Miss Sarah? She's the night manager.
BROWN: Pleasure to meet you, um, madame.
MACHEATH: (smirks) You'll have to pardon him. He's not like us. He's got morals. (SARAH laughs)
BROWN: It's not like that…
MACHEATH: Sarah, this is Tyler Brown, my old friend from the army. He's working for the American embassy now, serving his country. His position allows him access to information of international import…minor stuff, really, but things that politicians find interesting: who's going to be where, when they're arriving, who's coming along, so on and so forth. Tyler's a good guy. He tells you what happened during his day, and he doesn't leave out the interesting bits. He also doesn't mind if you happen to make a couple dollars from passing it along.
BROWN: Whatever it takes to keep you out of trouble.

"Hollywood" (Macheath, Brown)

"March into Korea!"
Mr. Truman said
"Make it safe for freedom!"
"Chase out all the Reds!"

We'd seen the newsreels
Sold-out picture shows
Signing up for glory
Couldn't wait to go

Formed into an order
No names, only ranks
Nice guys wind up first in line
Generals send their thanks

Dropped into a jungle
Clinging to a gun
Holding on for dear life
Then the shots began

I couldn't hear the string section then
Drowned out by the privates
Screaming for their Mum
No awards for the director that
Tries to sell a ticket for
This awful mess
It'll lose a ton.

John Wayne never made it
Truman still pressed on
Thought it might be over
Soon they'll find Vietnam

Private Murphy bailed out
Sergeant Brown stayed on
Took a trip to East Berlin
When my time was done

Signed up as a diplomat
Hooked up as a crook
Wanted to see never again
War like that, it took

Seven years right out of me
Eats up all my sleep
I got out before my time
But saw how life is cheap

We were used to play their little games
Chess piece for America
Suddenly broke free
They were wrong but we can make it right
Who needs all that crap these days
Fuck Hollywood
We've got Berlin

Friendly girls are all around
Looking for a kiss
Is that what they want you for?
Scattered bits of bliss?

Things are kind of crazy
That's the part I like
Too messed-up to fake it
Speak honest with a knife

At least it keeps you busy
We both have things to do
You can solve the problems
And I'll make more for you

Not what I had pictured
Not the perfect job
But this town's a battleground
Needs a Johnny Law

Whores and gangsters, psychopathic mob
Do my part to put them right
Those are just my friends
Whole world's gone mad, here's the place to be
At ground zero for the bomb
Fuck Hollywood
We've got Berlin

(all tension gone, the two men relax for a moment until BROWN snaps to attention)

BROWN: Polly's still waiting in the car…
MACHEATH: You're right. We should get started.
BROWN: (begins to walk offstage, then stops) Mack?
BROWN: You're ready for this? Are you sure it's the right thing…
MACHEATH: (laughs) Righteousness is defined by whatever I'm doing at any given moment, old man. You should know that by now.
BROWN: (smiles) She's a lovely girl, Mack. (exits)
MACHEATH: Sarah, if you will?
SARAH: (cries out) It's time! (CINDY and JENNY rush onstage, dressed as best they can manage)
MACHEATH: Walt! Roland! (WALT enters, slightly disheveled, and presents MACHEATH with the ring. a moment passes) Roland! (ROLAND enters, even more disheveled. he grins)
SARAH: Alright, we've got the ring…decorations…bridesmaids…what are we missing?
MACHEATH: Don't ask me. I find these savage rituals strange and bewildering.
CINDY: A minister!
MACHEATH: (throws his hands up in the air) Ah, balls.
SARAH: I'll check the logs. (runs over to the ledger, scans down the page) Room 8!

(WALT and CINDY rush offstage. there is a shriek and a yelp. WALT returns with
a mostly-naked MINISTER and CINDY follows behind carrying his robes)

MINISTER: What on earth…
CINDY: We need you to perform a wedding!
MINISTER: I don't know what you're talking about, I'm…(WALT tosses him his robes) I'm most certainly not…(SARAH hands him a bible) I don't know what you're implying…(CINDY places his crucifix around his neck) Alright, who's getting married?
CINDY: (sweetly) Reverend Kimball. My mother used to take me to your parish every Sunday.
MINISTER: Look, I'd really rather not…

(ROLAND takes out a knife and smiles)

MINISTER: (gulps) Should be lovely.
WALT: (hisses) Roland, knives are a bad omen for weddings.
ROLAND: Did your pyromaniac sister tell you that?
WALT: Shut up!
SARAH: Bridesmaids!

(CINDY and JENNY link up with WALT and ROLAND. the two pairs move to opposite sides of an imaginary aisle. SARAH stands at MACHEATH's side. the MINISTER stands nervously at the end of the aisle. BROWN and POLLY enter)

WALT: (impressed) Shit.
ROLAND: She's really something, boss.

(SARAH sings the tune, not the words, of "Here Comes the Bride". BROWN leads POLLY forward, taking the role of the father. MACHEATH places the ring on her finger. POLLY beams with happiness. a moment's pause, and then SARAH kicks the MINISTER)

MINISTER: Ow! Oh. You may, uh, kiss the bride.

(POLLY and MACHEATH kiss, and everyone cheers)

BROWN: Mack, my sincerest wishes for a happy marriage. Madame, it has been an absolute joy to make your acquaintance. Take good care of him.
POLLY: (smiles shyly) I will.
BROWN: And now, unfortunately, I must be going. Mack, can I talk to you for a second?

(BROWN and MACHEATH step aside while the others make merriment)

BROWN: Have you heard about the wall they're putting up?
MACHEATH: (warily) I've heard a few things.
BROWN: It's a diplomatic nightmare. (shakes his head) A wall around an entire city…nobody knows exactly what will happen.
MACHEATH: No problem. I've still got my American citizenship.
BROWN: When that wall goes up…well, diplomatic relations are pretty strained. That ticket may not ride when you need it, Mack. Think about it.
MACHEATH: Sure, I'll run it through my head, see what comes out.
BROWN: (taking some papers from his pocket) Here are the troop movements for next week. There's going to be a few extra squadrons around to protect a humanitarian delegation that's going through West Germany.
MACHEATH: Danke. (smirks) Hear that? I'm local!
BROWN: One more thing, Mack. She's a great girl, but…you do know who her father is?
MACHEATH: That old windbag Peachum? Yeah, I know him.
BROWN: (shaking his head) Tread carefully. Please.
MACHEATH: How's your daughter, by the way?
BROWN: Lucy's well. Restless, as ever. I think she may be seeing someone. MACHEATH: Send her my best.
BROWN: I will. And now, goodnight. (exits)
MACHEATH: (turning back to the others) Alright, where's my party?
MINISTER: I got your party right here!

(everyone stares blankly at the MINISTER)

WALT: I wrote a poem.
WALT: (clears throat) "Reflections on the Marriage of Macheath". A poem by, um, me. (clears throat) "Love is like the changing of the seasons. Your lives were once winter but love has made them into spring because it is warm."
ROLAND: That shit doesn't even rhyme.
WALT: "The beauty of two people in love is like the beauty of the sun on a nice day, when you are having a picnic and it does not rain."
CINDY: I like the rain.
ROLAND: I do too. I don't agree with this poem.
WALT: Look, shithead. If you don't like it, write your own.
ROLAND: Fine, I will. "Roses are red…"
WALT: When I'm done.
ROLAND: I thought you were done.
WALT: Well, I'm not.
ROLAND: How was I supposed to know? Stupid thing doesn't rhyme.
WALT: (clears throat) "And may your love enjoy many picnics throughout all the seasons of your lives, even winter, for a picnic in the winter is the best of all." The end.
MACHEATH: Thanks, Walt.
ROLAND: Worst poem I've ever heard.
WALT: Where's yours?
ROLAND: "Roses are red, violets are blue. I hope being married is fun for you."
WALT: You suck.
ROLAND: No, I don't.
WALT: Mine was contemplative.
ROLAND: Woop-de-shit.
MACHEATH: I can't thank you two enough. This is really one of the most beautiful things that's ever been done for me over the course of the last three minutes. (aside to SARAH) I need some time as a solo artist. If you could…
SARAH: Sure.

(SARAH whispers to CINDY and JENNY, who take WALT and ROLAND suggestively in arm and lead them offstage. SARAH exits as well. the MINISTER lingers until MACHEATH kicks him and he scurries off. POLLY and MACHEATH are alone)

POLLY: What shall we do now?
MACHEATH: (smiles wide and holds out his hand) I've got a little wine and a couple of revolutionary ideas. Let's have a conversation.
POLLY: Oh, Mackie…this has been so wonderful.
MACHEATH: Only the best.
POLLY: No, I mean it. It's so…

"Perfect" (Polly)

Perfect, in every way
It's perfect

On this perfect day,
It's perfect

I'll never see a moment as beautiful as this
Tomorrow at the sunrise we'll seal it with a kiss
The paint it may be peeling
The curtains full of holes
But everything is perfect
Now that I am yours

My mother always warned me, there is no happy end
I'll lose my senses reeling from charms I can't defend
But this moment proves her
Wrong, it's plain to see
For everything is perfect
And you're in love with me

Today, we are married
Today, we are wed
Our past lives are buried
A new world lies ahead

But tomorrow, life is perfect
Tomorrow, kisses sweet
Tomorrow, life is perfect
The missing parts complete

My father never gave me anything to believe
So when I'm faced with flaws of yours, I'll turn the other cheek
I know you're not perfect
But I'm imperfect too
And everything is perfect
Now that I'm in love with you

(a MAN emerges, holding a hat over his face)

MAN: Oh! I'm sorry to bother you.
POLLY: It's alright.
MAN: You make a beautiful couple. Have a great night.

(the MAN lowers his hat and we see that it is FILCH. he exits)

scene three

(PEACHUM stands, lecturing a BEGGAR)

PEACHUM: Terry, you're such a disappointment to me.
BEGGAR: Sorry, sir.
PEACHUM: You've got all the potential in the world, and yet you're content with bad teeth and a theatrical limp.
BEGGAR: Well, you know…
PEACHUM: What you need to ask yourself, and without delay, is: "Who do I want to be? What do I want to achieve? What am I willing to do to get there?" Terry, are you in this business because you just fell into it, or are you in this because you're going somewhere?
BEGGAR: I'm going somewhere!
PEACHUM: And what are you willing to do to get there?
BEGGAR: What do I have to do?
PEACHUM: How bad do you want to get there?
BEGGAR: Pretty bad.
PEACHUM: So what are you going to do?
BEGGAR: Whatever it takes!
PEACHUM: Do you really need that arm, Terry?
BEGGAR: My arm?
PEACHUM: What does it do? What is it there for? You've got another one, and a nicer one at that.
BEGGAR: You think the other one is nicer?
PEACHUM: Without a doubt. The way I see it, that arm is holding you back.
BEGGAR: It is?
PEACHUM: I've been in this business for decades, and let me tell you something: people love missing arms. The imagination runs wild! How did he lose it? Was it cut off in a dashing sword duel to protect a beautiful maiden? Was it burnt while running into a fire to rescue an innocent child? Those are the acts of heroes, Terry. Do you want to be a hero?
PEACHUM: Think about it. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting rid of that arm.
BEGGAR: (smiling) You're right!

(FILCH enters)

PEACHUM: (distracted, to BEGGAR, who exits) Now run along, you rascal. (to FILCH) Filch!
FILCH: Evening, Peachum.
PEACHUM: What have you found out about the predators who stalk my daughter?
FILCH: Not much that you'll enjoy hearing, I'm afraid. He's…

(MRS PEACHUM enters)

FILCH: Madam.
MRS PEACHUM: Well? Any news? What have you been doing with your time? Why haven't you anything to report?
FILCH: (irritated) I do have something to report. I know all about him. He…

(POLLY enters)

POLLY: Mother! Father!
FILCH: Miss Polly.
MRS PEACHUM: Young lady, I want to have a word with you.
PEACHUM: Well, Filch?
FILCH: The man is…
POLLY: Mother, I must speak with you at once!
MRS PEACHUM: Yes, I do believe that there are a few things you need to tell me.
PEACHUM: Filch, I don't pay you for your sense of restraint. Are you going to speak or not?
FILCH: I'm trying, but…
POLLY: I'm in love!
MRS PEACHUM: You are not!
PEACHUM: I'm waiting!
MRS PEACHUM: You're too young!
POLLY: I'm as old as you were!
PEACHUM: Damn it, Filch…
FILCH: (yells) His name is Macheath Murphy!

(everyone stares at FILCH)

FILCH: American. Ex-G.I., served in Korea, now just screwing around. Runs a small but reasonably lucrative smuggling operation. Has his fingers in various other pies across Berlin, including some government work. Retains a few employees, but no real ties to anyone. Can often be found at Suky Tawdry's, which he may be using as some manner of front for his smuggling. Essentially, a minor player developing ambition.
PEACHUM: (calmly) Filch, thank you.
FILCH: Oh, any time.
MRS PEACHUM: If you'll excuse us?
FILCH: My pleasure. (exits)
PEACHUM: Polly, dear…
POLLY: I've made up my mind, Father. I love Macheath. He's…well, he's all of those things that Filch said, but not really. Not the part about no ties, or not caring about anyone. I love him.
PEACHUM: I know.
PEACHUM: Polly, dear, I just want you to be happy. That's all I've ever wanted.
POLLY: Really?
MRS PEACHUM: Look at you, sweetheart. You're all worked up.

"Family" (Mrs Peachum)

My little girl, my only child
I love you so, I can not bear
So hard for me to see you like this
Cried yourself to sleep last night
Torn-up, distraught, afraid your dreams
Have abandoned you

Oh God, the world's a frightening place
It seems they've all gone mad
The men in charge are furious
The bomb could drop at any time
Out in the streets you might disappear
No one would know

You need a place, somewhere to hide
From the monsters at your door
Escape the howling reverie
Screaming hungrily for more
Little girls beware, they wear disguise
They're evil at the core
They'll tell you that they love you and
They'll promise you the world
And when you turn your back
They will fuck away what's pure

Never trust a man without a family
He's a lying shell, an empty hell
How can a man pretend to love
If he's never known the truth
The warm embrace of Father's arms
The nourishment of Mother's milk
A man like that's an animal
Fighting claws for scraps on the road
No ties to bind him to what's right
He'll turn on you when the wind blows
No country and no loyalty,
He is barely a human being
He'll cut you and he'll leave you
For the latest pretty thing
My dear, you deserve so much more
Than an animal
Scratching hungrily
At your door.

You've got to stick with family
You know we're on your side
Father watched you learn to walk
And Mother watched you cry
Remember the scent of warm pillows
Your peaceful little sleepy head
Knowing we were just around
The corner from your bed
The world outside has gone quite mad
No one can make it alone
The dollar's gone, the deutschmark's fucked
But blood will always hold
We'll be there and we'll comfort you
We'll shelter you from the storm
My dear, we only want what's best
Stay here inside your home
Don't surrender to that predator
We're the only ones
Who love you
At all.

scene four

(it is night, and the alley is lit by a solitary streetlamp. SMITH and WALT are waiting)

WALT: Cold?
SMITH: How much longer will it be?
WALT: Only God knows for sure. Every moment's a gift.
SMITH: I don't like this. Alone at such a late hour, anything could happen…
WALT: (smiles, playing with a knife) In a place like this, I'm what happens. And I don't plan to happen, so you're safe for a while yet.
SMITH: You call this safe?
WALT: What are you afraid of? You might find yourself standing next to a disturbed-looking man with a knife?
SMITH: (after a pause) Do you do this often?
WALT: What?
SMITH: Every night, are you out here? Who else have you sold this information to?
WALT: I think the last guy just wanted some recipes. Can't say for sure, though.
SMITH: Because if everyone else has it, it's useless to me…
WALT: Only God knows for sure.

(MACHEATH enters, bottle in hand. JENNY is with him.
both are fairly drunk. she grabs the bottle from him)

JENNY: Give me that, you louse.
MACHEATH: A louse? She calls me a louse?
JENNY: (laughing) You're a louse.
MACHEATH: The souse with a mouse in her house says I'm a louse?
SMITH: (stepping forward) Macheath…
MACHEATH: (confidentially, to SMITH) It's probably wearing a blouse.
SMITH: If you'll…
MACHEATH: So it doesn't get doused.
SMITH: Look…
MACHEATH: (with emphasis) By Faust. (back to JENNY, loudly) You do fine work, my dear. You are an artist. Go now, paint the night skies with all the majestic colors of your magnificent humping!
JENNY: (giggling) Bye, Mackie. (exits)
MACHEATH: (looking after her) She took the bottle. Isn't that…just…so.
WALT: Boss, this is Smith.
MACHEATH: I know. Walt, challenge my inebriated sense of object permanence and disappear.
WALT: See you. (exits)
MACHEATH: Now. Business?
MACHEATH: No chat?
SMITH: (impatient) Do you have the information?
MACHEATH: Yes, I do. I understand from my associate that payment arrangements have been completed, which is great to hear, and you, my close personal friend, may have the piece of paper you so hotly desire.

(MACHEATH holds out a piece of paper. SMITH grabs and examines it)

MACHEATH: Drink up.
SMITH: How do I know this is accurate?
MACHEATH: My track record isn't good enough?
SMITH: It hasn't been perfect.
MACHEATH: I've only led you astray when it was particularly funny to do so. Look at that information. Is there anything amusing about those troop movements? No. Boring stuff, all of it.
SMITH: If these are false, there'll be hell to pay.
MACHEATH: Of course they're genuine. Don't you know where I got them from?
SMITH: No. Where?
MACHEATH: (leaning in close) God. God gave them to me. (steps back) He'd talk to you, too, but you're all atheists. It's okay, though. You're not missing much. Mostly God just rambles. Rambles and rambles. That's what priests are for. They summarize. They cut out all the shit about what God ate that day, who he saw at the store…
SMITH: (pulls out a gun) What if I shot you right now? Who'd come looking for you? You've got no country, no family. Would you still laugh? Because I'm going to shoot you now. In the fucking head. I am going to shoot you. Are you going to laugh?
MACHEATH: (with total clarity) No. But I am going to smile. You do have the advantage here. You can blow my head off and there's not a thing I can do about it except splatter all over the pavement. I wonder though, Smith. How comfortable are you with the world? My boy Walt's got a girlfriend in one of the houses in this alley. He may be in her house fucking her senseless as we speak. Or he might be standing at the window, waiting to see if this goes down okay. What do you think? Look around you. Are there more lights on or off than when you arrived? What kind of mood do you think Walt was in when he left? Think he hopped into the sack right away? Did he seem horny? Even if he's watching, he won't be able to stop you from shooting me. But he will cripple you the second after you do it. How badly do you want to kill me? Enough to lose your legs? Think your grateful government will take care of you? Maybe not. You won't look too good. Want to work for Peachum? What do you think, Smith? You've got the advantage. Things should go down in your favor. Do you trust the world to behave like it's supposed to? That chaos out there, the grand unknowable, the future…is it on your side?

(the two men stare at each other for a long moment. then SMITH uncocks the gun)

SMITH: Is there someone out there?
MACHEATH: I don't know, Smith. Same place next week?
SMITH: Be careful about making enemies, Macheath. One of them might behave as an enemy does.

(SMITH exits. MACHEATH is alone. he slides down to a sitting position)

MACHEATH: Yeah, well, it won't be you.

"Hollywood" (Reprise) (Macheath)

Pissed off all the Germans
They have got more guns
Always aim for kneecaps
Never have much fun

First time that I came here
It was a grand old town
Fucking prison atmosphere
I never touch the ground

All the world is wrapped up in this thing
If you don't belong here
Bullet to the head
Spend vacation rotting in a grave
Crazy bastards every one
Fuck Hollywood
And when you're done
Fuck Berlin

(ROLAND wanders out, eating a sandwich)

MACHEATH: Hi, Roland.
ROLAND: Hi, boss.
MACHEATH: What have you been up to tonight?
ROLAND: Eating.
MACHEATH: Did you pay for that?
ROLAND: What do you mean?
MACHEATH: Has it ever occurred to you that sooner or later people are going to notice this pattern of sandwich-makers getting knifed and they're going to stop selling sandwiches?
ROLAND: (chewing) No.
MACHEATH: Ah, Roland. You live for the moment. Poets romanticize you, cemetaries are overstocked on you.
ROLAND: If you say so. Did everything go okay tonight?
MACHEATH: To a point. Smith threatened to kill me.
ROLAND: Want me to kill him?
MACHEATH: Nah. No use. He's symptomatic of a larger social disease.
ROLAND: You're not scared, are you?
MACHEATH: (smiles) Of course not. They can't touch me. They don't even know who I am. They don't have papers on me. I'm Mack the Knife. Un-fucking-touchable. Bureaucrats'll never come after me. I know their kind. They don't want to get cut.
ROLAND: That's pretty much what I thought.
MACHEATH: Go find something to wash that down. I'll meet up with you in a little while.
ROLAND: Gotcha.

(ROLAND exits. MACHEATH looks re-energized. he dusts himself off. HEINRICH wanders out. he looks awful, a changed man from his last appearance: covered in dirty bandages, walking on crutches, a dead look in his eyes)

MACHEATH: (motioning towards the dumpster) All yours, cowboy.

(MACHEATH walks past. HEINRICH swings one of his crutches and knocks MACHEATH out with a blow to the head. MACHEATH falls. HEINRICH speaks, his voice now a terrible sound)

HEINRICH: Going to get out of here yet.

scene five

(MACHEATH is lying in the prison cell, unconscious. nearby sits the ATTENDANT, who is cutting slices from an apple with a knife. PEACHUM and SMITH are conferring)

PEACHUM: Keep him here as long as possible. I'll want to speak with him later.
SMITH: I can have him awakened right now.
PEACHUM: No, he's not ready yet. Not…ripe. Hmm. (to ATTENDANT) Have you got any more fruit with you?
ATTENDANT: A few pieces, sir.
PEACHUM: Let me see them. (the ATTENDANT hands over a brown bag, and PEACHUM rummages around in it) Ah. (pulls out a plum) This will do nicely.
SMITH: What are you doing?
PEACHUM: Leaving an interactive message.
SMITH: What do you mean?
PEACHUM: (to ATTENDANT, who complies) Give me your knife. (sticks the knife into the plum and leaves it on the floor in front of the cell) There.
SMITH: That's your message?
PEACHUM: It doesn't make a great deal of sense, I know. In fact, it doesn't mean anything at all. But let's face it, nothing means anything by itself. Take a little boy. Give him a sunny day and a bouncing ball, you've got the idyllic innocence of youth. Hand him a dumpster and the corpse of his pet, you've got the tragic corruption of said youth. Same little boy. It's got fuck all to do with him. The message is in his surroundings. His context. In this case, we're going to let Macheath construct the message himself with these surroundings as his guide. And this plum. He knows what scares him better than we do. Saves us the effort.
SMITH: If you say so. Attendant, this man (indicating PEACHUM) is allowed to come and go as he pleases. Do you understand?
ATTENDANT: Yes, sir.
PEACHUM: And I don't want fucking Hoppstedt getting in here while I'm gone.
SMITH: Hoppstedt's involved in this?
PEACHUM: You can never be too careful with that bastard. (to ATTENDANT) Is that clear?
ATTENDANT: Yes, sir.
PEACHUM: Good. I'll be back in a short while.

(PEACHUM takes the bag with him as he exits, followed by SMITH)

ATTENDANT: That was my dinner. Damn it. (looks around, sits down, and then stands up again. he taps the bars of the cell) Hello? Hello? (there is no response) I hope you're not ignoring me because you're angry. I'm only keeping you locked up because it's part of my job. It's really nothing personal. (tapping again) I think this is a somewhat immature attitude to take about the entire thing. It's an unpleasant situation, sure, but you might as well make the most of it and pass the time with some conversation. (shrugs) Fine, then. Two can play at that game.

(the ATTENDANT sits down and dozes off. after a moment, MACHEATH awakes)

MACHEATH: (slowly) Well, then. That fucking hurt. (sits up) Alright, which one of you was it, eh? Show your face. (looks around) Fine, don't. God damn Nazis. Brain of Hitler in a fucking jar. (stands up, to ATTENDANT) Hey. Come on. It's standard form in America, the captor faces his captive and explains…what do you want? We can work something out…ah, to hell with you. (looks down, notices the plum) What's the deal with the plum? Is that supposed to be my meal? Why's there a knife in it? You don't eat a plum with a knife. What…is that a reference to…(waits) A fucking plum, what the fuck is that supposed to mean? What the hell? (shakes the bars, yells) Hey, shitball! I don't know anything about any fucking plums, alright? (sits down) These people are psychotic. There's no reasoning with them. (sighs) What the fuck?

(LUCY enters. the ATTENDANT stirs)

ATTENDANT: You're not allowed in here.
LUCY: (flashing a stack of documents) I have papers.

(LUCY rushes forward to the cell. the ATTENDANT follows closely behind)

LUCY: Oh, Mackie! Are you alright?
MACHEATH: Lucy, dearest, I…ahem.
LUCY: What's wrong?
MACHEATH: (to ATTENDANT) A little privacy, please?
ATTENDANT: I have to make sure you're not up to anything.
LUCY: Like what?
ATTENDANT: Plotting an escape.
LUCY: But I have diplomatic papers…
ATTENDANT: Sorry, ma'am. It's procedure.
MACHEATH: Have a heart. Can't a condemned man say his last goodbyes in peace?
LUCY: (shocked) Condemned? Oh, Mackie!
ATTENDANT: You're to be executed?
MACHEATH: Yeah. Don't you even know what I'm in here for?
ATTENDANT: Ah, no. I'm…ah, the paperwork…
MACHEATH: I'm going to be hanged tomorrow morning. Execution isn't the sort of
thing one lies about, now, is it?
ATTENDANT: No, I suppose not…
MACHEATH: So can I please have some privacy?
ATTENDANT: (steps back, moves away) Yes, yes, I'm sorry. Please. By all means.
LUCY: (rushing forward) Oh, Mackie! They're going to kill you?
MACHEATH: No, I was lying. Death's a magic word. Have you ever noticed that? People will do anything for you if they think you're about to die. It's the only pure form of favor left.
LUCY: You shouldn't joke about death.
MACHEATH: Who's joking? I'm just playing the cards in my hand. Where are they holding me?
LUCY: At the Berlin police station. It looks serious. Word at the embassy is the East German government is involved and there might be a military guard soon. Someone's really angry about you, Macheath.
MACHEATH: How did you get in here?
LUCY: I showed them my father's diplomatic papers.
MACHEATH: If you used Brown's papers…what's he going to use?
LUCY: What do you mean?
MACHEATH: How the hell is he going to get in here? He's the bloody diplomat!
LUCY: Mackie, what are you saying?
MACHEATH: I'm saying that your father can get me out of here, and you…(slows) You're a beautiful young woman who I love very much. I'm absolutely glad that you came, because the time we spend together is very important to me. Now what I need you to do, dear love, is to return those papers to your father, who is a representative of the American government, so he can arrange for my release. Would that be alright?
LUCY: Mack, we need to talk about some things first.
MACHEATH: (sighs, sits down) Fuck's sake.
LUCY: When are you going to tell him about us?
MACHEATH: I don't know. I keep getting tangled up in things. Like, for example, prison cells and murderous Germans.
LUCY: I want to go somewhere, Macheath.

"Dreams" (Lucy)

I had a dream that I was somewhere in France
A stranger came to me and we started to dance
I didn't know his name, I'd never seen him before
He made sweet love to me right on the golden floor

I woke from sleep to find that I was alone
I left my room and I had nowhere to go

My father chose for us such a boring life
No thrills, no whispers in the moonlight
Every night I dream I am further away
Within a week I'll be lost in outer space

What kind of dreams could I have in a place like this?
Won't you be my sandman, baby, show me what I've missed?

I want to run away from here
I want to go
Toward a better place than here
Baby, don't say no

There's more to life than books and things to eat
We could live in motion, we could love at high speed

I want to run away from here
I want to go
Toward a better place than here
Baby, don't say no

Can't you see I'm tired of all these static scenes
Maybe lose my mind from living this old routine
Waiting for someone to come along and set me free
I'm young, the world is open, there's so much to see

What kind of dreams could I have in a place like this?
Won't you be my sandman, baby, show me what I've missed?

I want to run away from here
I want to go
Toward a better place than here
Baby, don't say no
I want to run away from here
I want to go
Toward a better place than here
Baby, don't say no

MACHEATH: No argument here. And that's why it's so important that I get out of here, so if you could just…

(POLLY enters)

ATTENDANT: (startled) Miss Peachum! I didn't realize your father was sending you.
POLLY: I'm here to see Macheath.
ATTENDANT: By all means, go on ahead, and my compliments to your father.

(POLLY goes to the cell, brushing past the annoyed LUCY)

POLLY: Mack, have you been hurt?
MACHEATH: Not too badly. Polly, maybe you could…
LUCY: (to POLLY) Do you mind?
POLLY: (to LUCY) Excuse me. (to MACHEATH) What were you saying, dear?
LUCY: (to POLLY) Who are you?
POLLY: (to LUCY) You're awful rude.
MACHEATH: Everybody, let's focus on the problem at hand…
LUCY: (to POLLY) I'm rude? You're the one who came barging in here.
POLLY: What right do you have to be here, anyway?
LUCY: Plenty right!
POLLY: Oh, I think not!
MACHEATH: Anybody hungry? There's a plum.
LUCY: Oh, I think so!
POLLY: What's he to you?
LUCY: He's my husband.

(the two women stare at each other for a moment and then turn to look at MACHEATH, who takes a careful step backward)

"Lies" (Lucy, Polly)

I'm not sure I understood you
I could speak louder
I think I must have misheard you
I rather doubt it
What do you mean
That he's your husband?
I think you know what
I was saying

It very nearly shakes my faith that you're so certain
On any other day I just might walk away
But the truth I'm afraid is we are newly married
The week before last it was our wedding day

I think I know the source of your confusion
Your lover's in chains and tears have blurred your eyes
It's a simple mistake, he may be locked up elsewhere
In another prison or another place and time

Well, it seems clear that you have suffered a head wound
Lucky for you, the police are right outside
You can tell the desk detective to avenge you
On the terrible fiend who's committed such a crime

For I know Macheath, I've known him for a while now
In a biblical sort of way, if you understand
Surely if you were feeling as you ought to
So ridiculous a claim you would not dare defend

When you cling to this sad delusion
You're wasting valuable time
Thinking about another woman's husband
Your real one will say goodbye

You've really overstayed your welcome
I felt sorry at first but now
It's time to go get the help you deserve
And leave us both alone

Why the hell should I go?
What's he mean to you?
I know we were married
I've got the ring to prove
Lying little harpy
Predatory shrew

What do you mean
That he's your husband
You've never loved him
Don't even know him

What do you mean
That he's your husband
Will you just shut up
Already, give up

You keep on saying
That he's your husband
Will you just go home
This game is tiresome

Say you weren't
You know I was
He married me
Oh, give it up
It's grown pathetic
I'm sure you think
You bear the stench
Of lies and thieves
It makes me sick
To hear you say

What do you mean
That he's your husband
You've never loved him
Don't even know him

What do you mean
That he's your husband
Will you just shut up
Already, give up

You keep on saying
That he's your husband
Will you just go home
This game is tiresome

You keep on saying
That he's your husband
If you won't give up
Well, then let's ask him

Macheath, my dear
Just go ahead
And speak the name
Of your one true love

MACHEATH: Lucy Brown. (to POLLY) I'm quite sorry, ma'am, but I need some time alone with my loved one.
MACHEATH: Please. I'm sure it'll all work out for you in time.
POLLY: (in tears) Oh. I see how it is.

(POLLY exits)

ATTENDANT: (confused) Okay! Bye now!
LUCY: Who was she?
MACHEATH: (relieved) Ah, you know. Prison missionaries. They get clingy sometimes, a little deluded even. I didn't want to hurt her feelings. It's a very lonesome life they lead.

(WALT and ROLAND enter. ROLAND moves around behind the ATTENDANT and gets down on his hands and knees, motioning for WALT to shove the ATTENDANT backwards. WALT shakes his head)

ATTENDANT: Who are you?
WALT: I'm with the key company. There's been a recall on the model you have. I need to take them in for testing, make sure they're safe.
WALT: Your keys. Design flaw. They could be a danger to you and your loved ones. So if I could just have a quick look at them…
ATTENDANT: Think I'm a fool, do you? You're under arrest!

(the ATTENDANT goes through an exaggerated series of motions to show off his combat training. WALT sighs and reluctantly shoves him, causing the ATTENDANT to fall backwards over ROLAND, who then pounces on him and beats him senseless. WALT searches him for keys, finds them, and unlocks the prison cell. MACHEATH steps out)

MACHEATH: How'd you get in?
WALT: Wasn't easy. Someone wants you in here pretty badly, boss.
MACHEATH: Alright. Roland, go check out what we have in the way of escape routes.
ROLAND: Gotcha.

(ROLAND exits)

MACHEATH: Lucy, dear, can you look around too?
LUCY: Sure thing, Mackie.
MACHEATH: (kisses her on the cheek) My little spy.

(LUCY laughs and exits. MACHEATH shakes his head)

WALT: What's with the plum?
MACHEATH: It's a message from Peachum. Polly's the plum, and I'm the knife. I'm not allowed to consume her or some fucking thing, and he put it just out of reach so I know he can touch me any time he wants, including getting me locked up in here because he's got the fucking government on his side too. They're all in league together. That's why I sent her back to him. I don't want anything to do with this psychotic family-control chess game. Fuck it. I married her because she was a nice girl, I thought we might both have a good time, and maybe I could get my hands on some of her father's shipping contacts. The American dream, you know. Start a business, make a family, move up in the world. But I don't want it that fucking bad. He can have her.
WALT: You're leaving?
MACHEATH: Yeah. I'm done with Berlin. I'll take care of my shit somewhere else. I'm going to need some capital to get mobile, though.

(LUCY returns)

MACHEATH: Lucy, dear?
LUCY: Yes?
MACHEATH: Would you like to go to Venice?
LUCY: Together?
MACHEATH: I need you to get some things from your father's files at the embassy. You have his keys, right?
LUCY: Yes, I do. What do you need?
MACHEATH: Everything that's in a manilla folder marked P-44. I'll have Walt pick it up from you for secrecy's sake, and then we'll meet up later so we can leave.
LUCY: Okay.

(LUCY exits and ROLAND returns)

WALT: What's in the folder?
MACHEATH: A lot. I'm reinterpreting the boundaries of my friendship with Brown. Roland, do we have a way out?
MACHEATH: Great. Let's be somewhere else.

(MACHEATH and WALT exit. ROLAND lingers for a moment)

ROLAND: Mm. A plum.

(ROLAND picks up the plum and takes a bite. noticing the others leaving, he sets it down and hurries after them. the ATTENDANT gradually begins to stir)

ATTENDANT: Cowards. Face me head on, will you. Be a different story then. Troublemakers. I'll show you who's boss.

(BROWN enters)

BROWN: Are you in charge here?
ATTENDANT: You looking for trouble?
BROWN: (flashing a badge) My name is Tyler Brown. I am a representative of the American government. Macheath Murphy is an American citizen and you are acting in violation of international law by holding him prisoner. Unless he is immediately released into my custody, his detainment will be interpreted as an act of aggression by the American government. Do you understand?
ATTENDANT: Oh. Uh…right.
BROWN: Well? Where is he?
ATTENDANT: He's right behind…(turns and sees the empty cell) Uh oh.
BROWN: Will you…
ATTENDANT: I'm in trouble.

(the ATTENDANT bolts, leaving a confused BROWN)

BROWN: I'm missing something here, aren't I?

(BROWN walks into the prison cell and looks around. PEACHUM enters)

PEACHUM: Good evening. By now, you must have a few questions on your mind…
BROWN: (turns around) Yes, I do. Where's Macheath Murphy?
PEACHUM: (surprised) Who are you?
BROWN: Tyler Brown. Liason from the American embassy. And you're…
PEACHUM: Jonah Peachum.
BROWN: I recognize you.
PEACHUM: I'm flattered. (looking around) It seems that the man we both seek has left the premises.
BROWN: What do you want with him?
PEACHUM: Macheath Murphy was placed under arrest by the East German police. He ought still to be here as he has not been discharged. You haven't been aiding and abetting criminal activity in our fair city, have you Mr. Brown? I can't imagine your government would look fondly upon that.
BROWN: Are you threatening me, Peachum?

(PEACHUM notices the plum and picks it up)

PEACHUM: He took a bite? That's his response? Well. The gauntlet is thrown down.
BROWN: What are you talking about?
PEACHUM: You have a bold friend, Mr. Brown. (tosses the plum to BROWN) Be careful how closely you walk with him. He's just escalated this entire affair.

(PEACHUM exits)

BROWN: (calling after him) What affair? What? What the…(sighs) I think I need to learn more German. Something keeps getting lost in the translation.

(SMITH enters. he is startled for a moment but recovers quickly)

BROWN: Smith. Thanks for coming so quickly. Apparently I was misinformed. There's no situation here.
SMITH: Yes, it appears so. I'm glad that everything has worked out for the best.
BROWN: Well, not everything's settled yet. Gather some men, please. I have a couple ideas that I'd like to pursue.
SMITH: (long look) Sure. I'll do that. (exits)

"Black and White (Act One Finale)" (Brown, Macheath)

They say the world isn't black and white
And I know it has to be true
I have seen the way that it all goes down
And I don't need to hear it from you
I have been to the place where darkness lives
I have heard the shotgun cries
I have seen desire and the damage done
I have listened to the beautiful lies
So I know the world isn't black and white
But I won't use it as an excuse

For the way
People treat
Each other
For the loss
Of the lives
In the distance
I'll believe
In the slogans
If I have to
Do what I must
To bring you

Never tell me it's impossible
I will find that out for myself
I'll collapse and I will fall along the way
But not before you see a prison cell
Perhaps the cost will be deep
But that's the sacrifice that I will make
For what the hell else could my life be for
If not to make the world a better place
You don't need to see things in black and white
To give a damn about what's right

I tell you now
Without a doubt
I will bring you down
I will rat you out
Of your cesspool
Of your sewer
Of your factory
Of misery

I tell you now
Without a doubt
I will bring you down
I will rat you out
Of your cesspool
Of your sewer
Of your factory
Of misery

(repeat underneath as MACHEATH begins to sing)

It's good to know
That a man has
Friends outside
Who care inside
It's relieving
To the refugee
That someone else
Has got your back

But you'll pardon me
For saying that
I don't give a damn
To white and black
Cos it seems to me
It's a money thing
If you leave the bank
Can't touch the king

And I promise you
With another life
I'd change it all
Not just survive
But here and now
That's what I've got
So I'll see you, friend
I'm finished and gone

Cos it seems to me
It's a money thing
If you leave the bank
Can't touch the king
And I promise you
With another life
I'd change it all
Not just survive
But here and now
That's what I've got
So I'll see you, friend
I'm finished and gone

(repeat underneath BROWN)

I tell you Peachum
I'm on my way
I'll do what I must
I'll make you pay
For the pain you cause
The lies you tell
I'll destroy your nest
I'll send you to hell
Soon you swine
Your time will come
I'll make it right
It's over Peachum

I tell you Peachum
I'm on my way
Cos it seems to me
It's a money thing
I'll do what I must
I'll make you pay
If you leave the bank
Can't touch the king
For the pain you cause
The lies you tell
And I promise you
With another life
I'll destroy your nest
I'll send you to hell
I'd change it all
Not just survive
Soon you swine
Your time will come
But here and now
That's what I've got
I'll make it right
It's over Peachum
So I'll see you, friend
I'm finished and gone

Act Two

scene one

PEACHUM: (from darkness) Go ahead, whenever you're ready.
BEGGAR: (from darkness, counting) A-one, two, three.

(lights come up to reveal the office. PEACHUM and MRS PEACHUM are watching as a trio of BEGGARS stand at center stage. two have no arms, and the third is on crutches. FILCH sits at his desk, impassively taking notes. the BEGGARS begin to sing)

"All Over" (Beggars)

I have got bugs and rats all over
Some kind of crazy rash on my shoulder
I eat the sidewalk grass for dinner
My skin will fall right off come winter
I never work, I live on welfare
Sleep with the garbage in the dumpster

Oh girl, don't you run away
I need you
I love you
I feel cleaner
When I am
Thinking of you

I want you to be so much closer
Just like the bugs and rats all over
Next to the crazy rash on my shoulder
You and the bugs and rats all over

(one speaks, while the others continue to provide harmony)
Let's face it, baby. I've got problems. I think the government is full of robots, and those robots were put there by aliens bent on world domination. I am one messed-up character. Girl, there is only one thing that makes me feel okay, and that's the sight of you walking past my cardboard box. When I reach out my hand for change, you reach back with a beauty that's true. So true.

(all sing)
I have got bugs and rats all over
Some kind of crazy rash on my shoulder
I want you to be so much closer
Just like the bugs and rats all over
Next to the crazy rash on my shoulder
You and the bugs and rats all over

(the BEGGARS end with a flourish, and the PEACHUMS applaud)

PEACHUM: Wonderful!
MRS PEACHUM: Bravo, bravo.
PEACHUM: What do you call yourselves?
BEGGAR: Johnny and the Four Thumbs. (the other two wave their stumps)
MRS PEACHUM: Well, it can use a little fine-tuning, and there's always room for improvement, but on the whole, I like it. Keep working and we'll see where you're at tomorrow. Okay?

(the BEGGARS exit, chattering happily)

MRS PEACHUM: I like it – I do like it – but I'm not sure it's precisely…it.
PEACHUM: You're not sure if it's it?
MRS PEACHUM: Well, it's elusive, you know. But it's quite essential.
PEACHUM: What exactly is it?
MRS PEACHUM: What I'm looking for is the new suffering. A bold step forward in the art of human misery, if you will. Consider the dynamics of the entire thing. The conventional mode of thinking holds that you have your sufferer, whoever he may be, and he's got his ailment, whatever it may be, and sufferer impacts upon the observer – or the sufferee – much like a…a subject in a sentence might impact upon its direct object. Now, this is good in many ways, because the sufferee has to be able to control the bounds of the transaction and a certain consistency is economically sound among our sufferers. But it limits things as well. What you ultimately find yourself with is nothing more than a gumball machine of human misery. Our beggars dispense a little bit on request – here's a little bit of a starving child, thank you sir – and that's the end of it. The observer knows what he is receiving because made the choice to put his quarter into that particular machine. There is no capacity for surprise, and as such, there comes a time when man hungers for more than gumballs.
PEACHUM: What are you proposing?
MRS PEACHUM: What I would like to move towards is an understanding of misery that operates within what could be thought of as a…as a tripartite relationship. You have the sufferer, and the sufferee, but you also have suffering itself, in the abstract, as a player in the entire equation. This allows us to think in more perceptive terms about the flow, the need, the demands of each element in the transaction and, really, to complete that transaction in a deeper sense. We have such a simple operation right now. Look around at our stockroom, and sure, we're unmatched for the quality of our flipper babies, our addicts, our pregnant mothers…but is this specialization really helping us? With the New Suffering, our beggars would become conduits for the universal notion of suffering and could in that way provide John Q. Public with what he really wants.
PEACHUM: Do you have any real strategy for achieving this?
MRS PEACHUM: Well, I was thinking, using the examples I mentioned, if we set up an organized program by which we get the addicts to knock up the flipper babies, the result should be the most powerful form of underage pregnant mother ever distilled.
PEACHUM: Interesting.
FILCH: My sources tell me that Hoppstedt is preparing a squad of juggling war veterans with elephantitis.
MRS PEACHUM: That bastard! He stole that! That was my idea!
PEACHUM: I really should file a complaint about Hoppstedt. That man is singularly the most unscrupulous operator in the industry. (sighs) Filch, please call in the next beggar.
FILCH: (calling) Seventeen!

(a BEGGAR enters. he wears a top hat and has a visible knife
stabbed somewhere in his body. he leaps into action)

BEGGAR: (singing) Hey everybody, how-ya doin', great to see you here! (normal) Hey, hey, hey! Welcome! Anybody here from out of town? Do we have any humanitarian delegations in the house? Great to see you! I tell you what, you've come to the right place! West Germany's a tough town. I tried out for the local team…and I got cut! (pointing to the knife) Cut! Hah! No, but seriously, this is a corrupt town if I've ever seen one. Anybody got some medicine? Aspirin, maybe? We don't see too much of that stuff around here, what with the government selling it all on the black market...and I sure wish I could do something about this cutting headache! Hah! Yeah!
PEACHUM: Are you done?
BEGGAR: Do you like it?
PEACHUM: Like it?
MRS PEACHUM: If you could just wait outside for a moment…
BEGGAR: Oh, sure.

(the BEGGAR exits)

MRS PEACHUM: (furious) I want him killed.
PEACHUM: Alright…
MRS PEACHUM: I want him chewed to pieces by wild dogs. Then I want to take about sixteen other knives…
PEACHUM: See, dear, that's what you were talking about! The New Suffering. He could keep his stab wound but we could also infect him with…
MRS PEACHUM: (firmly) I want him dead.
PEACHUM: Okay, well…

(there is a pause. MRS PEACHUM makes a throat-slashing gesture. PEACHUM nods. she scowls. the BEGGAR comes rushing back in. she rises to go after him)

PEACHUM: (to the BEGGAR)This probably isn't the best time…
BEGGAR: There's a bunch of cops outside! It's a raid!
PEACHUM: Someone's raiding here? Who the hell?
FILCH: I'll go head them off.

(FILCH exits)

MRS PEACHUM: Where's Smith? He's supposed to prevent this sort of thing.
PEACHUM: Whatever this person's up to, I can handle it. I just don't understand what the angle is.
BEGGAR: Obviously not a very sharp angle, huh?
BEGGAR: Sharp. You know, like my knife. It's…
MRS PEACHUM: You're a dead man.

(MRS PEACHUM grabs the BEGGAR. she twists his knife and he yelps in pain, then she drags him offstage. his distant cries are audible as PEACHUM stares after them)

PEACHUM: Lovely woman.

(FILCH enters, trying to block BROWN and a DEPUTY who push past him)

FILCH: This is a gross violation of your authority, Brown…
BROWN: Perhaps mine, but not his. (to the DEPUTY) Captain, have your men secure the premises. No one comes and no one goes until I give the word. Understand?
DEPUTY: Yes, sir. (exits)
BROWN: (holding out papers) As for me, I am acting under full authorization from the Berlin police department. You're welcome to read all about it.
PEACHUM: Where's Smith?
BROWN: He said he had some business uptown.
PEACHUM: What a stand-up guy.
FILCH: I refuse to recognize this obviously forged document and must demand that…
PEACHUM: No, no, Filch. Let it pass. We have nothing to hide here.
BROWN: You've got more to hide than you know. I've seen the way you operate here in Berlin: through fear, cruelty and playing the rules to your own advantage.
PEACHUM: How strange that must have been for your American eyes.
DEPUTY: (returning) Done, sir.
BROWN: Go ahead and mock me, Peachum. But I know how to play your petty games. I've made it quite clear to your government that my government would consider it a personal favor if they were to find you guilty of any number of crimes. Right now, officers of the Berlin police department are finding evidence for those crimes as quickly as other officers can place it.
PEACHUM: And this is all over your friend Macheath?
BROWN: Yes, it is. You're going to leave him and his bride alone because you're going down, Peachum. I'm going to have you jailed and then I'm going to take apart your entire operation, piece by piece, because you're sick and because you fucked with my friend. (to the DEPUTY) Tag 'em and bag 'em, Captain. Let's get this done.
PEACHUM: So that's it, then? You're going to frame me for some ridiculous crime and send me off to jail?
BROWN: That's right. Your government doesn't give a damn about you, Peachum.
PEACHUM: Tell me, Brown. Do you really think it's different where you come from?

"Sailing" (Peachum)

Who do you think is the Captain of this ship
What sort of man is plotting out the course
Steering us all through the rough and tumble waves
Our poor little ship took a beating
Who do you think is the Captain of this ship
Have you ever seen him in the galley when he eats

Do you
Dare take a look at his plate
See the things that he ate
Check the refuse in the garbage
And wonder

When you
Stand on the deck, look behind
Through the sails and the lines
Trace a strange little path in
The water

Do you ever wonder why we're going this way
What kind of place is he steering us toward
What sort of trip can justify this fuel
Riding the wind of a bloody century
Getting to this point, it was a real mess
Took a lot of misery to score this bliss

When you
Bow to the flag, raise your hand to your heart
Do you ever think about the legions of the Cherokee
Dead and debased for the patriotic swell in
Your heart

If you
Look at the course we have steered through history
Realize the Captain of this ship is one of two things
Blind as a bat and he don't know where we're at
That would explain how we got here
No one's at the helm, we're out of control
Or he
Meant all the things that he said
All the rights, all the lefts
And he actually wanted them dead
You can tell me about the Captain of this ship
Does he give a shit for justice
Do you really want his watchful eye
Watching over you

It's a scary world without a Captain
No one comes in time to make it right
So let's pretend that there's a Captain
It's what we need to sleep at night

Do you ever wonder why we're going this way
What kind of place is he steering us toward
What sort of trip can justify the fuel
Riding the wind of a bloody century
Getting to this point, it was a real mess
Took a lot of misery to score this bliss

Do you
Really want to take a chance
Think the Captain cares for you
If the
Babies starve and pigs grow big
Cook the poor to feed the rich
Real natives don't get shit
What kind of chance do you have
Will you make the final list
Is he weighing out the lives
And that's why good men die
Is he leaving it to chance
Seems quite a lazy man
Or is the Captain out for gold
And he doesn't even know your name

PEACHUM: You're aware of the humanitarian delegation coming through West Germany next week, I take it?
BROWN: (warily) Yes.
PEACHUM: Then, of course, you're aware that they're a very important bunch. The world is watching. They want to see how it's turning out, this whole capitalism versus communism divide, and they want to see which side they should inch nervously toward. Now, personally, I'm not going anywhere. I think it's all public relations, myself, and no real difference whichever way you go. But I do have an outstanding contract with the East German government to gather up the dregs of society and put them on display for those humanitarians when they come through the West. Imagine the look on those delegates' faces when they see the worst – and I mean the terrible, sickening worst – that Berlin has to offer. Untreated syphilitic nightmare faces, begging to be touched. Open wounds, oozing from the recent smack of police brutality. Starving infants, no waiting. They're all ready to hit that tour in full force tomorrow. What will it mean for democracy when those delegates see the face of suffering in your democratic paradise? They love to hear stories, they shake their heads in sympathy when they see the photos, but what about when it's right up close? And what about you? Are you ready to open your arms to the real tired and huddled masses, Brown?
BROWN: You're bluffing. I know a bluff when I see it. None of this matters because you're going to jail before any of that's going to happen.
PEACHUM: Well, you've got me dead to rights, that's for sure. You're such a big man, I probably won't see the light of day for years. You can arrest everyone in this building, but they're just the beginning. Every sullen face you see on the street is working for me. I sell them a dream they can't get anywhere else. I sell them the idea of paradise on the other side of the Wall. You know how frantic everyone is. No one knows what's going to happen. They'll do anything to get clear. The word is already out. My huddled masses are all across the city and they're going to do a bang-up job on that delegation because they're tired, they're hungry, and they're sick of all the bullshit. You're concerned about your friend Macheath? Well, let me tell you this: I'm more concerned. I want his dirty hands off my daughter. I don't like him and, to in the parlance of American bravado, I don’t like people fucking around with my family. If you jail me, I won't be able to send out word that the demonstration tomorrow is cancelled. It'll happen without me and international freedom will take a beating. Think about it. How much do you value your friend? Has he been a good friend to you? The man is scum. Are you willing to make an entire world suffer so he can go on knifing whoever gets in his way? So he can keep whoring? So he can go on fucking the innocence of young women until they don't believe in a god damn thing any more? Think about it, Brown. Here's your heroic moment. Who are you going to save? Macheath or the free world?
BROWN: (quietly) You'll never catch him. He's long gone.
PEACHUM: Oh, is he?
BROWN: Yes, he is.
PEACHUM: Deputy, gather your men. We have a trip to make and a criminal to arrest.
DEPUTY: (smiles) Yes, sir. (exits)
PEACHUM: You've made the right choice, Brown.
BROWN: I haven't made any choice. I don't need to. Macheath left Berlin last night.
PEACHUM: You can see yourself out.

(PEACHUM and FILCH exit)

BROWN: He's gone. I'm sure of it. I know he's gone.

scene two

(MACHEATH is lounging with CINDY. they are both drinking a lot of wine. SARAH sits nearby, trying to work in the ledger. JENNY stands away, separate from the scene)

MACHEATH: Ah, you know. I'm on my way out. I'm almost gone.
CINDY: Aren't you worried?
MACHEATH: Worried? No. Why, should I be? What do you have planned?

(MACHEATH tickles CINDY, and she giggles)

"Summer" (Part One) (Jenny)

Sleepless, I'm lost in my room again
Midnight, the candles abandon me
When I'm looking through my broken window outside

Streetlights have nothing to show you in the
City, just kisses and candy to
Believe in, some air to keep a drowning girl alive

Still you watch the world in summer
Never know what's around the corner

SARAH: You can't hide out in here. I don't want any trouble with the cops.
MACHEATH: I'm not hiding out. I'm visiting. Saying my last goodbyes. Besides, they won't come in here after me. They're afraid of places like this.
CINDY: Who's afraid?
MACHEATH: My enemies. Good family men, every one of them. They wouldn't be caught dead in here. Bastards.
SARAH: (smiling) You've now used this whorehouse as a church for your wedding and a sanctuary from your crimes. What does that say about you, Macheath?
MACHEATH: You're so sexy when you psychoanalyze me.
SARAH: Oh, do you like that?
MACHEATH: I always feel so much better. It helps me be a whole man to find out that my mother was secretly dating my dog or whatever.
CINDY: Who was your mother?
MACHEATH: My mother? I don't know. I was all over the place when I was a kid. My father was Cary Grant.
CINDY: The movie star?
MACHEATH: Yeah. Great guy, but I don't see him that much any more. My mother was a circus midget.
CINDY: Really?
MACHEATH: Oh, yeah. All the American movie stars are crazy about midgets. Everybody wants to fuck a midget. It's pretty weird.
CINDY: I don't want to fuck a midget.
MACHEATH: Oh, neither do I. But you know how actors are. They're strange people.
SARAH: (putting down her pen) You wouldn't fuck a midget?
CINDY: Oh, well, if one came in, then I would. But he'd have to pay extra.
MACHEATH: That's kind of unfair, isn't it? Why should midgets have to pay more? There's less of them to fuck.
CINDY: Idiot.
SARAH: Macheath, stop teasing her.
MACHEATH: I'm just sticking up for the little guys.
SARAH: (pushing back her chair) I can't work with you two around.
MACHEATH: Where are all the clients, anyway?
SARAH: There's not too many. Weather's bad, so nobody has an excuse to sneak out of the house.
MACHEATH: No dirty old men?
CINDY: They can't come out in the rain or they won't be dirty anymore.
MACHEATH: All alone with you two ladies, then. Beautiful.

(SARAH walks over behind MACHEATH and begins rubbing his shoulders)

SARAH: So, where are you headed?
MACHEATH: What, now? Nowhere.
SARAH: No, when you leave Berlin.
MACHEATH: Oh. I don't know. Rome, maybe. Venice.
CINDY: Why can't you go back to America?
MACHEATH: I'm in exile.
CINDY: Did they pass a law against you?
MACHEATH: No, we both kind of agreed it'd be for the best if we took some time apart.
SARAH: You know, you can't keep this up forever. Someone's going to pin you down eventually.
CINDY: Like when they finish the Wall. You'll be locked in.
MACHEATH: Ah, the Wall. The Wall doesn't mean shit.
SARAH: (sitting back down) Oh, it doesn't?
MACHEATH: Hell, no. I've got a jetpack. I'll fly right over it.
CINDY: Like in the movies?
MACHEATH: Yeah. My movie star dad got it for me. They had one in "Casablanca", so he got it for me.
CINDY: Cary Grant wasn't in "Casablanca".
MACHEATH: I know. Humphrey Bogart was.
CINDY: He wasn't who you said before.
MACHEATH: I didn't mean just one movie star. I meant all of them. All the movie stars got together and fucked all the circus midgets and here I am. That's how I was born.
CINDY: Can I fly in your jetpack?
MACHEATH: Don't ask me that.
MACHEATH: I hate lying to you.

"Summer" (Part Two) (Jenny)

Reading my letters from years ago
Wonder how long is forever in a
Love note, say anything for a smile or pass the time

Always one face I remember from the
Hundreds that paid to come through my door
The one who said all those things and made them sound alive

And when I breathe the air in summer
Then it feels like he's my savior
I believe in someone and somewhere to go
And the reason for making my way
Through another day

Seems as real as dreams but
Just for a while
The seasons are changing
And it all has to end because
He always is gone by
The fall

MACHEATH: (holding out a bottle) Come on, Sarah. Have a drink and forget about this fucking world with us.
SARAH: No, I'm fine.
CINDY: We've got enough.
SARAH: Brought more than you needed for two?

(SARAH brings her chair closer to the other two, sits down, and takes the bottle)

SARAH: Your wife doesn't want any?
MACHEATH: (laughs) Oh, I get it. You're being pointedly subtle…no, my, ah, Ms…which one did I marry while you were around?
CINDY: What?
MACHEATH: Ms. Peachum. No, she's staying at home.
CINDY: What happened?
MACHEATH: Nothing happened. I don't know. God. Awful personal, you.
SARAH: I could have told you you weren't the marriage type before you broke that poor girl's heart.
MACHEATH: Yeah, but you didn't, so I did.
SARAH: Would you have listened?
MACHEATH: You know, they drive you crazy with these movies. They used to do it with books and churches. Now they do it with movies. They get this crazy fucked-up idea in your head that love is marriage, or whatever, and they're the same, and you don't get a chance to figure it out for yourself because they fill your brain with all this crap about rings and gowns.
CINDY: I don't think it would be so bad being married.
MACHEATH: I know a really sweet midget who'd be thrilled to hear that.
CINDY: Mackie…
SARAH: Another victim of society, then?
MACHEATH: They make you think it's this entire process of going places and saying things in front of certain people. I don't know anything about all that. I don't want to spend my life with someone. It wouldn't be good. I'm not a very good person. You know what? I'm a pretty bad one, actually. But this whole damn thing…they get love all mixed-up, and they get you believing it, and you don't know how to say 'no'. I don't know. I only feel love in moments. I never know when. I don't know. I loved her when I said 'I do'. I wasn't lying then.
SARAH: A lot of good that does her now.
MACHEATH: Shit. Why do we have to be like this? Freaking out. I've never been in the love process so I'm not allowed to be in love. Whatever. Fuck it. I don't think I'm so evil. I mean, I am. But not in all those ways. Sorry if she bought into it, too. Shit.
CINDY: Are you okay?
MACHEATH: Yeah, I'm fine. Besides, heartbreak, whatever. She gets to be fashionably cynical now. It'll open up all kinds of doors for her.
CINDY: I love you, Macheath.
MACHEATH: I love you too, Cindy. But I don't know how I'm going to feel in three minutes.
SARAH: Have you ever killed someone, Macheath?
MACHEATH: Yeah. Why?
SARAH: You're not a victim. You make victims.
MACHEATH: No, you know what? We're all victims. Yeah, I know I'm a bad person. But it's not just me who does it. They've got the entire thing set up so we're all fighting each other. You fuck some guy, get paid, and he feels guilty so he yells at his kid. Kid grows up, loses his shit and smacks some whore. I don't know. It's not just me. It's how we're taught to survive by fucking over everyone else. That's the way it goes. We're all victims of each other.
SARAH: If you hate everyone so much, why are you still here?
MACHEATH: Because I love her (indicating CINDY, who has fallen asleep) for two more minutes. I'm not going anywhere until I'm done. (looks into his bottle, sighs) Fuck it. I'm out.
SARAH: (taking a bottle from behind the desk) Here. Have some of this.
MACHEATH: Suky Tawdry's private stash? Nice.
SARAH: (softly) Are you sure you don't want to leave?
MACHEATH: (drinks) We're exiles, you and me. We don't get to have a family or a country or any of that. We're not allowed. I only tell lies and you only tell the truth and we both get kicked out because of it.
SARAH: Are you sure?
MACHEATH: (shaking his head) One more minute.

"Summer" (Part Three) (Jenny)

Tomorrow my body goes up for sale
Sorrow feels hollower every day
Compared to the powerless hate I feel for my own bed

Miss you, I'll never forgive myself
Betrayed you, but some day I will forget
And that day I'll find myself inside with nothing left

Though the world at night is
Full of reminders
Dreams from the summer
Given up forever to
Why do I bother to
Do things I have to do
To stay alive

(SMITH and several OFFICERS enter. MACHEATH swears and leaps up, taking a step back. he looks for a weapon and grabs the bottle SARAH handed to him. he brandishes it, then becomes confused and looks at the bottle. he has been drugged. MACHEATH lashes out in vain and falls. the OFFICERS place him in handcuffs and SMITH speaks)

SMITH: Ladies, the government appreciates your cooperation. You will be duly compensated.

(CINDY and SARAH both nod)

scene three

(LUCY is waiting in the alley, standing just outside of the light. POLLY enters)

POLLY: Hello? Hello? (to herself) A place like this, and such an hour…(calling out) Is anyone there?LUCY: (stepping forward) Hello, Polly.
POLLY: You? You're the one from the jail, aren't you?
LUCY: Yes, I am. My name is Lucy. I apologize for (motioning around) asking that we meet here. I didn't know of anywhere else that's safe.
POLLY: I understand. Look, I don't want to fight, I…
LUCY: No, please. I don't want to fight either.
POLLY: Then what do you want?

"Kindness" (Part One) (Lucy)

Polly, oh dear
You're a saint you know for coming
Excuse me, I fear
I'm overcome, I'm crying
Macheath it seems is locked away
They're going to kill him without delay
There must be somehow something
So difficult, but something
That we can do

LUCY: We've got to save him.

"Kindness" (Part Two) (Polly)

The news, I heard
It's nothing short of terrible
They'll do it, I know
They're heartless and they'll do it
We've got to try to stop them first
We've got to act, I fear the worst
You're right there must be something
I'm desperate for something
That we can do

POLLY: We haven't got much time. I'm sure of it.
LUCY: Thank you so much for responding to my letter. I want you to know that I feel awful about what happened at the prison.
POLLY: No, it's fine. I felt ashamed too.
LUCY: I know now that you were telling the truth.
POLLY: But so were you.
LUCY: It must have been maddening.
POLLY: I meant none of the horrible things I said.
LUCY: You had every right.
POLLY: You're so kind for understanding.
LUCY: It was Macheath's fault.
POLLY: True.
LUCY: Of course I love him…
POLLY: And I do too…
LUCY: More than anyone I've ever known…
POLLY: More than life itself…
LUCY: But he lied to us. We were deceived.
POLLY: I'm just glad we've worked everything out.

(they smile and stare at each other)

LUCY: Anyway.
POLLY: Did you hear the circumstances of his arrest?
LUCY: He was caught in a whorehouse.
POLLY: (shaking her head) A whorehouse.
LUCY: Not the place for a married man to be.
POLLY: And doubly wrong for a man who's been married twice.
LUCY: (laughs) You're right. That's so clever.
POLLY: Oh, thank you. But we have to do something.
LUCY: Of course.
POLLY: We're the only chance he's got.
LUCY: It's so distressing. (pauses, then takes out a flask) Would you like a drink?
POLLY: What is it?
LUCY: Some finely-aged, perfectly exquisite…

(WALT and ROLAND enter, standing away from the other two)

WALT: Crappy gin. Lukewarm piss, basically.
ROLAND: Lukewarm?
WALT: Yeah.
ROLAND: What does that matter? Piss is pretty gross whether it's hot or cold.
WALT: Yes, it is.
ROLAND: I don't know about you sometimes.
WALT: The point is, she asked me to mix poison into it.
ROLAND: Poison?
WALT: Oh, yeah. Powerful stuff, too. Strong enough to kill a horse.
ROLAND: How do you know?
WALT: What?
ROLAND: Have you ever killed a horse?
WALT: That's not what I meant.
ROLAND: Don't avoid my question.
WALT: I'm not avoiding your question.
ROLAND: Why are you deadset on slaughtering horses all of a sudden?
WALT: It's a figure of speech, Roland.
ROLAND: Wait, you got a figure of speech mixed up in this? You going to kill him too?
WALT: Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?
ROLAND: The government has soldiers to protect those speech figures. They don't fuck around.
WALT: Fine, Roland.
ROLAND: And stop it with all that other shit. I like horses.
WALT: Okay.
ROLAND: It's cool when they run.
WALT: Yeah, it really is. (pauses) I wonder what she wanted that poisoned gin for?
LUCY: I only want to make amends.
POLLY: You're really quite generous.
LUCY: You deserve it after what you've been through.
POLLY: It wasn't easy for you either.
LUCY: Oh, thank you. Have a drink and we'll discuss what we can do to save Macheath.
ROLAND: How did she get in contact with you?
WALT: I don't know. She didn't say. I was a little curious about that.
ROLAND: She didn't say what she was going to do with the poison?
WALT: Probably wasn't going to host a dinner party.
ROLAND: I wouldn't rule anything out.
WALT: Think Macheath knows about this?
ROLAND: That'd be mean.
WALT: Why?
ROLAND: He couldn’t go. He's in jail.
WALT: Yeah.
ROLAND: So if she invited him to the dinner party, he'd just feel bad about missing it.
WALT: I can't talk to you any more.

(POLLY takes a couple steps backward)

LUCY: Is there a problem?
POLLY: Oh, the light, that's all. It's in my eyes. I've been staying indoors so much lately, you know.
LUCY: That's perfectly understandable.
POLLY: Thank you.

"Kindness" (Part Three) (Lucy)

A sip of gin
It's the least I can do, you deserve it
In times like these
A woman gets so desperate
Your one true love is bound in chains
It's enough to drive anyone insane
Surely you must be worried
Torn up inside, worried
Wondering what you can do

LUCY: A little drink will relieve some of that stress.
POLLY: It would, if I were thirsty.
LUCY: The body needs its liquids.
POLLY: All the same.
LUCY: You might enjoy it.
POLLY: Oh, I couldn't.
LUCY: Sure you could.
POLLY: I'd rather not.
LUCY: Please do.
POLLY: I don't know…
ROLAND: (taking out his gun) Quiet down. I need to listen.
WALT: To what?
ROLAND: Something other than you.
WALT: Are you still angry about the horse?
ROLAND: Shut up.
WALT: You're going to shoot me over a horse?
LUCY: (screaming) Drink it!

(ROLAND's gun goes off and POLLY drops the gin)

LUCY: Oh my god.
POLLY: Are you alright?
LUCY: You dropped…
POLLY: Oh. Yes, I'm sorry.
LUCY: It's…it's fine.
POLLY: Are you sure?
LUCY: That gin was poisoned. I was trying to kill you. I can't believe I almost did that.
LUCY: I thought…I can't believe I was so stupid. I was still jealous of you, even though Macheath turned you away.
POLLY: I see.
LUCY: I must have been mad. (pauses) What was that sound?
POLLY: I contracted a man to shoot you. He jumped on the wrong cue. (calling out) Roland! It's okay! Forget about it!
ROLAND: Are you sure?
POLLY: Yes. I changed my mind.
ROLAND: Okay. (to WALT) Come on. I'm hungry.

(ROLAND and WALT exit)

LUCY: Well.
POLLY: Mm-hmm.
LUCY: What are we doing here?
POLLY: You mean…
LUCY: In this alley…
POLLY: Trying to kill each other.
LUCY: It's absurd. Over Macheath?
POLLY: He's not worth it.
LUCY: No, he absolutely isn't. He's a liar and a criminal.
POLLY: He came swinging into Berlin, acting debonair…
LUCY: That bastard. Why did we even care in the first place?
POLLY: Because we were lied to.
LUCY: He said he loved us.
POLLY: Men like him don't love. They lie, and they use people.
LUCY: I don't care what happens to him.
POLLY: Neither do I.
LUCY: We don't need him. We've got our own lives. Let him have his.
POLLY: He can rot.
LUCY: He'll be dead by morning.

scene four

(MACHEATH is in the jail cell. there are two armed GUARDS nearby. SMITH enters)

SMITH: Not much time left, Macheath. You know, I haven't served on a firing line in ten years now, but I'm going to pitch in today. Do my part. I think I still remember how to pull a trigger. It's pretty much…well, it's similar to a pistol, isn't it? Here. (takes out a gun and places it in MACHEATH's cell) Could you give me a refresher course? (MACHEATH does nothing) Come on. Show me how to use it. (MACHEATH still does nothing) I gave you a gun, Macheath. Pick it up. Shoot it. Could be your way out of here. (SMITH takes out another gun and points it at MACHEATH) Pick up the gun, Macheath! Pick it up or I'll blow your fucking head off!

(MACHEATH picks up the gun and tosses it near the GUARDS)

GUARD: (to SMITH) Is this your gun, sir?
SMITH: Yes. Yes, it is.
GUARD: (handing it over) You should pick up some ammunition, sir. It's empty.
SMITH: Yeah, I know. Carry on.

(SMITH exits. after a few moments, the GUARD approaches MACHEATH)

GUARD: Excuse me. I couldn't help but overhear…well, I had heard of you. Rumor has it you're a man of some resources…(pauses expectantly) You're to be executed…you are aware of that, aren't you? Right. Look, I wouldn't call myself corrupt, necessarily, but I am willing to entertain modes of persuasion, if you, and I think you are, versed…what I'm saying is that I've been paid off to allow certain people in here, and it's not so large a step for me to let you out if the price is right. There. I said it. If the price is right. Well? Do we have a deal? (MACHEATH says nothing) Fine. Your choice. Awful confident, aren't you?

(the GUARD returns to his position. WALT enters)

WALT: (to GUARD) I have credentials.
GUARD: I know.
WALT: Hi, Macheath. I'm here for…well, I guess you could say I'm here for business purposes. I was just going to let it sit, but then Roland started talking about resumes and professionalism, so I decided I should probably come and do this in person, because you really can't trust the mails, you know. So. Ah, I regret to say that I have to hand in my resignation. I've had an offer from a new start-up in town. Competitive pay, it's a management position and they look like they've got a very bright future. Some impressive resources. Open access to government documents and credentials…both governments, mind you, American and German…plenty of shipping contacts, too. The people in charge, well, you've been married to both of them. Sweet girls, very smart, but they mean business. No love lost for you, as you can probably guess. Anyway, let me just say that it's been a pleasure working for you, and I wish you the best of luck in your future. (looks around) I mean that in the best possible way. I should go. Thank you. (takes a few steps away and then, to a GUARD) You in for poker tomorrow?
GUARD: Your place?
WALT: You bet.
GUARD: See you then.

(WALT exits. there is another silence, and SMITH enters)

SMITH: Mere minutes now, Macheath. That's a nice spot for you. Right up against the wall. No one's coming to save you. Are you feeling it yet? The desperation? Go ahead and have a cry. Might make you feel better.

(BROWN enters. for the first time, an emotion flashes across MACHEATH's face)

SMITH: Brown. Finally you're here.
BROWN: Yeah.
(to MACHEATH) This is Tyler Brown, from the American embassy. He's a diplomat. I believe you've been waiting for him, haven't you?


SMITH: Let's dispense with pleasantries. Now, of course, it's well-known to everyone that the East German government would never execute an American citizen. It would cause an international incident. So just to set things straight before we proceed…Brown, is this man known to you?
BROWN: This man?
SMITH: The man behind these bars. Is he known to you?
BROWN: (pauses) Yes, he is.
SMITH: What is his name?
BROWN: His name is Macheath…
BROWN: His name is Mackie Messer. We caught him breaking into the embassy.
SMITH: His name is Mackie Messer? Not Murphy?
BROWN: Yes. He is a criminal in the Berlin underworld.
SMITH: He is not an American citizen? He is a common criminal?
BROWN: You know what I'm going to say. You made your point. (to MACHEATH) Look, Macheath. This isn't the way…I'm sorry. I'm in a certain position, okay? That delegation, the entire world…well, why didn’t you leave town? You could have left. Instead, you play these damn games. I'm not going to feel guilty about this. You put yourself here. I can't protect criminals. I'm doing what I have to do to protect justice and the free world. I didn't want to make this choice. This is your own doing. (to SMITH) I'm done.

(BROWN exits)

SMITH: Gentlemen, we need both of you for the firing line. Please report to the armory to pick up your rifles and then assemble back here.
GUARDS: Yes, sir.

(the GUARDS exit)

SMITH: See you in a moment, Macheath. Right up against the wall.

(SMITH exits)

"Doubt" (Macheath)

Anyone who tells you it's a small world
Is an idiot
There's always somewhere to go
Where you can die
And never be found

Somewhere, there's a body lying face down
Turn it around
No answers but no one asked
Goodnight, dead man
No grave, just a sunset

Soon, they're going put me up
Against the wall
Six bullets to the head
Give or take a few
Enough to make a bloody mess

A green field, a rolling hill
A snow-kissed mountain-top
The golden city, the countryside
You can always be forgotten

Ashes to ashes
We are all the same
A saint, a sinner, a holy terror
A mother of two, a father of four
The great men of our times
And a battered old whore
Everyone is equal in the end

And I'm starting to wonder
If God knows
If the Lord can tell the difference
Or if he's been faking all along
Because I used to have a name
I went places, I did things, I lived a life
And now I'm just one of the disappeared

The moral of the story is that
No one gives a shit
At least I think that's what it meant
I never knew a thing about a family
I never had a mother or a father
I don't even know what they do
Wasn't my choice, that's how it went
I did the best with what I had
I was missing a few parts inside and out
Something I needed to function I never got
You tell me what I was supposed to do

The village square, a brave dissident
Tells the soldiers where to go
Tossed into a mass grave to save free trade
He's the disappeared, no one wants to know

I don't stand for much
Except myself
I'm not a very good person
Pretty bad, in fact
But this system is fucked up

I never said I love you
When I didn't
But those things keep slipping away
And I lose track of all
The promises I made

Now I'm being crucified
With low attendance
No one's packing the seats to see my last
Even God's otherwise occupied
Flipped the record, played the A-side

(SMITH and the two GUARDS return with rifles. they assemble in a line, backs to the audience, and then raise their rifles to aim at the impassive MACHEATH)

SMITH: Gentlemen, fire on my mark. One…two…
WALFORD: (from offstage) Wait a minute.


FILCH: What?
WALFORD: They're going to kill him?
FILCH: I'm getting to that. He was about to face the firing line…
STANBROOK: No, no, don't go any further. (to WALFORD) How much do you have on you?
WALFORD: Thirty dollars.
STANBROOK: (to FILCH) Thirty dollars says Macheath lives.
FILCH: You want to place a bet?
STANBROOK: No. I'm saying, tell the story so that Macheath lives.
FILCH: I haven't finished it yet. You don't know what happens.
WALFORD: I like him. He's larger than life. It'd be a shame to lose a character like that.
STANBROOK: I know. He was so bold, and the adventures he had…
WALFORD: He was funny. Didn't you think?
STANBROOK: Absolutely. Filch, thirty bucks for you and Macheath lives.
FILCH: You don't want to hear the ending and then decide?
WALFORD: Nah. Too risky. You might get all dour and kill him off, and we'd know he was dead, so it wouldn't be any fun.
FILCH: You do realize that this is a true story?
STANBROOK: All stories are true. Come on.
FILCH: (pauses) Okay.
GUARD: Sir, my gun is jammed.
GUARD: Faulty ammo, sir.
SMITH: Hmm. Let me see it.

(SMITH and the GUARDS study the guns. MACHEATH opens the door and steps out)

MACHEATH: Wait a minute…it's open! They left it unlocked! (pauses) Alright. How do I get out of here? Ah…
SMITH: The prisoner has escaped! Shoot him down!

(PEACHUM enters)

PEACHUM: Belay that order, men. Hello, Macheath.
MACHEATH: Greetings, Peachum.
PEACHUM: Quite a situation we have here. Well, I think I've made my point. Don't mess around with families, yadda yadda, no need to actually kill you over it. And you're not involved with my daughter any more, so we've no quarrel.
MACHEATH: Glad you see it that way.
PEACHUM: I have arranged for a pardon and an exit visa to America, where, as it turns out, they do value individual lives over the dictations of the free market. President Kennedy is waiting at the airfield with his private jet to fly you home.
MACHEATH: My long-lost cousin John F. About time he showed up.
PEACHUM: Smith, you can fuck off now.
SMITH: This isn't over, Macheath.
MACHEATH: Of course it isn't, buddy. You heard the man. Fuck off now.

(SMITH and the GUARDS exit)

PEACHUM: One small matter before you leave.
PEACHUM: I'll be on that plane too. I'm taking my fortune and moving to Hollywood to start a movie studio. I could use a handsome, charismatic star like you. What do you say?
MACHEATH: What's the project?
PEACHUM: My lovely wife (MRS PEACHUM enters) is writing a screenplay called "Romeo and Juliet". I've seen some pages. It's pretty good.
MRS PEACHUM: Thank you, dear. Comes from the heart! (they laugh) Well, Macheath? Your own trailer, choice of co-star…what do you say?

(HOPPSTEDT enters)

HOPPSTEDT: Or you could sign up with me.
PEACHUM: Hoppstedt!
MRS PEACHUM: Get lost, Hoppstedt.
HOPPSTEDT: Let the man hear me out, Peachum. (to MACHEATH) I'm taking my beggars to Broadway and doing a Kabuki interpretive dance version of "Paradise Lost". Come with me.
MACHEATH: Broadway, eh?
HOPPSTEDT: All the glitz, all the glamour.
MACHEATH: It's tempting…but, you know, the Peachums persecuted me personally. I have a relationship with them. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to decline your offer.
MRS PEACHUM: Eat it, Hoppstedt!
HOPPSTEDT: Next time, Peachum.


PEACHUM: Well, Macheath?
MACHEATH: Let's make movies!


(FILCH and the two old men are alone onstage)

FILCH: Macheath became a star, "Romeo and Juliet" was a hit, and they all lived happily after.
STANBROOK: I hope that Brown guy got a good kicking for deserting his pal.
FILCH: Oh, he did. No worries there.
WALFORD: Macheath wound up in Hollywood! I can't believe it!
STANBROOK: Who'd have thought?
WALFORD: I guess dreams really do come true.
STANBROOK: What a great story.
WALFORD: And the songs…
STANBROOK: Oh, the songs.
WALFORD: Thoroughly enjoyed it.
STANBROOK: Except for the dark bits.
WALFORD: Yes, it was a little unpleasant in parts.
STANBROOK: But nothing's perfect.
WALFORD: Well, I'm off. I've got a strike at the plant that I've got to break.
STANBROOK: Good luck, old bean.
WALFORD: Thanks. That story has me feeling invigorated. It'll be a cinch.

(WALFORD exits)

STANBROOK: Nice story there, Filch. We'll have to do this again some time.
FILCH: Sure.
STANBROOK: Back to the kitchen with you.
FILCH: Fine.

(FILCH starts to walk away)

STANBROOK: What really did happen?
FILCH: What do you mean?
STANBROOK: Did he really live? I mean, what was the real ending?
FILCH: You heard the ending. He goes to Hollywood. That's it.
STANBROOK: What would you have said if we didn't pay you?
FILCH: I don't know. You did pay me.

(STANBROOK exits. FILCH is alone onstage)

"You'll Never Know (Finale from The B-Side Opera)" (Filch)

Yeah, I can see
How it's a mystery to you
The pieces don't really fit
And it's all over, baby blue
Got your happy ending
The one you waited for
Peace and love are all around
Cos tragedy's such a bore

We've all heard that times are tough
Or something to that effect
Watched the perilous tale unfurl
Waited for some sex
Bothered by the morbid things
The dour twists and turns
Hoping it would come out right
The hero never burns
Here's the happy ending, it's the
One that you demand
Feels a little hollow when you
Hold it in your hand

Now you're on edge, can't help wondering
The story's real end
Might have been amazing, spectacular, profound
It's possible, I guess
Toss and turn a few minutes each night
Until you fall asleep
The scary thoughts slip in your dreams
I know it isn't fair
So if you want an answer for your ghost
Let me tell you that

You'll never get to know
You'll never fucking know
You weren't there to live it
So you'll never fucking know

You chose to stay at home
All doped up in your chair
Caught last call for alcohol
To drown out the despair

You never heard a word
Anaesthetized but good
Comfort and prosperity
A coma neighborohood

Want your taxes cut
Want a brand new car
Want to know the local store
Delivers after dark

Here's your sainted world
Your stately pleasure dome
Disinfect the mystery
With God and garden gnomes

Put your money down
For sweet romantic fare
What the hell, it feels good
But you never stop there

Homogenize the world
Airbrush all their brains
Don't invest in civil unrest
And everything's the same

A sickly sort of bland
You voted with your cash
Take down the flag, replace it with
Some teenage pop star's ass

Your safety's got you caged
Keep acting like you're free
But money can't protect your dreams
You'll never truly sleep

You'll never get to know
You'll never fucking know
What happens when the lights go out
You'll never get to know
Who is the face behind the mask
You'll never get to know
All the things your eyes could see
You'll never get to know
Put down the glass and feel at last
You'll never get to know
The road that goes through darkness
Is the only way to heaven
But you'll never get to know.

the b-side opera by Marc Heiden and James Johnson (after John Gay) October 1999 – April 2000.