Weil is insistent that her mercenary perpetrators have all undergone hardship in their lives, and possess a justified resentment for Venice.
We see the scene where the mastermind of the plot, Renaud, explains his vision of conquest and statecraft to Jaffier, the newly apppointed leader of the military operation.
“The scene feels Shakespearean – the end justifies the mean – so it feels less a question of sympathizing with them, than whether I believe what they’re doing to is justified.”
“I’d have more sympathy seeing rape victims, but this scene makes me mad, and being mad pushes me a little out of it and keeps me thinking.”
Levine: the plan that Weil lays out is very applicable, even to this day, but the scene itself is more about laying out evidence, without necessarily drawing on, or depending on empathy or sympathy … are their any comparisons to be made to pieces in the art world? What are the tensions between documentation and empathy?
Colleen: the ease with which we’re overlapping usages of empathy, sympathy, and pity.
Levine: if we’re talking about political theatre, we might as well talk about making it – when you’re doing a role, do you sympathize with the people you’re portraying? Or, does the fact that there’s a limit to your sacrifice – like SW rescued by her parents’ concern – does that invalidate the claim to empathy that she might be going for?
Gideon Lewis-Krauss: SW answered those charges by starving herself
Christi Nelson: she also took notes about what it took to do that work, the reality of that work – giving voice to an experience most of the society had never heard before
James Hannaham: I think it was a waste of her resources, of her real gifts.
Levine: And on that note … we’ll take a break.