DL: this raises the specter of Mike taking his HTFA monologue to TCG – taking it to the council of elders … can you tell us how it went?
MD:the experience of performing it in the room – for these artistic directors and executives – was actually really hopeful. the reaction was really warm – and it seemed like these people were able to respond in a way as individuals in a way that they couldn’t as institutional representatives
JH: what is it – what issue – is going to be enough to get these people charged up to do something after seeing a show? what isn’t happening elsewhere in their lives, or on their stages? what’s the theatrical topic that would get people moving?
CW: I feel like the HIV/AIDS crisis worked really well through theatre – that there was a wealthy class in the city who really responded
JH: Angels in America is another example. it seems like the theatre that gets people active is often the less sophisticated, but AiA is a case where there’s a specific sophisticated audience being reached
EK: it’s local – it’s really speaking to a local constituency
DL: so we here tonight are speaking to a local community about local concerns, right? can we go farther with James’ question?
[CW describes The Civilians …]
MAD: but there’s also a difference between the way the movement works in Black Watch and the way music works in The Civilians – that the latter tends to undermine the political/social effects, where the former tends to highlight them in a more Brechtian manner
[discussion of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson]
DL: is it really a political play?
W10: it’s set in the White House, and there’s a lot dealing with native Americans – I bring it up because were talking about dumb emo music theatre, because it’s really speaking to an audience of young girls, who love it
M5: there is this basic need to entertain as well – it’s a baseline we ignore at our peril, it’s why people come, it’s why people show up
DL: how do politics and entertainment go together? no one’s brought up any kind of pied piper idea of using theatre to seduce people.
M5: will ferrell’s piece on boradway –
DL: which is really turning the heads of … everyone who already hated Bush anyway
M5: but there were a lot of people who voted for him – he was popular for a very long time – and not just the one show, there was a lot of anti-bush buffoonery througout the administration
DL tells the story of Babylon Is Everywhere – a right-wing script where spectacle trumped justice … if this thing tonight was advertised as a talk on the 3rd floor of NYTW there would be two people showing up, one with about 40 plastic bags …
W: there are different circumstances, and different levels of courage. how much are any of us willing to put ourselves on the line as audiences of performers?
DL: that’s the Simone Weil question.
G: so often you’re giving the message to people who already have the message
DL: is it a question of guts? what would an artistic director need to do?
MAD: part of it is the bravery of telling your own story and the stories of others – when you perceive yourself to be a victim of injustice, and how that ignites your bravery, and when you’re in the position of empathy with other people, and how that gets framed – plays like Norml Heart, it did happen, though it’s hard when it doesn’t seem like it’s your own story being told – it makes me think of NYTW and Rachel Corrie …
[précis of the My Name Is Rachel Corrie incident …]
DL: which leads to the 7 Jewish Children thing – where so much context has piled around it to reduce any volatile reaction …
MAD: but that can also makes people feel cared for, so they feel more willing to participate
M1: if it’s not insoluable, I don’t want to see it – too much political theatre dumbs things down and actually lets the political value out of the room