First Preview

David Levine starts by posing a basic question … “what makes political art?”  It’s a question that seems hard ot answer – partially because of the circumstance of a theatre, partially because of the circumstances of the question.  Why does it matter? How do we as artists and spectators answer the questions of irrelevance and remoteness that plague us and our work?

The project of Venice Saved is to offer an examination of Simone Weil’s unfinished play, Venice Sauvée

Colleen Werthmann gives a brief overview of Simone Weil’s life, full of contradiction and complexity – one of vigorous political engagement, and also, progressively, of deep religious inquiry.  Anorexic or martyr, narcissist or saint, genius or fringe thinker?  Venise Sauvée is her only play, her only major fictional work.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus talks about Weil’s work, most particularly The Need for Roots, written in London before her death, which draws the distinction between her concepts of the City and the State.  Ironically, while these concepts are fairly schematic in Weil’s writings, her play treats them with far more ambiguity …

James Hannaham now talks about the text of the play itself, that Venice Saved is the first draft of a first play.  Based on a 1672 account of a 1618 Spanish plot to capture the city of Venice, Weil’s play eschews the modern prose of Sarte and Camus, concerning herself instead with classical models and with Racine.


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