* Set in lower-class mid-18th century London, filled with beggars, thieves and prostitutes, a ballad singer sings about Macheath, who is a lowlife crime boss nicknamed Mac the Knife.
* A narrator introduces Peachum, who is the proprietor of a "beggar's emporium", where he runs an underground market, dressing beggars for sympathy with rags and false limbs in return for a cut of their earnings.
* Peachum has signs with Bible quotes to elicit sympathy and talks about the difficulty in his line of work because people have the habit of quickly becoming immune to the sufferings of others.
* A young man comes into the shop who is beaten the previous day while begging, and is given a card for Peachum.
* It is revealed that Peachum is the "Beggar's Boss" and runs the streets of London in districts for beggary, taking a percentage of profit and...
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