We Introduce a Courtesan (or two)

The first complete scene we see from the play, partially reconstituted from stage directions and notes, portrays a Venetian Courtesan participating in the plot to betray the city, allowing the conspirators to use her mansion as a safe house.  She describes the wrongs done to her by the Lords of Venice, and her vivid, bloody dreams of revenge.

Then we see a re-figured version of this scene, with a woman from Eastern Europe caught up by international sex trafficking, passing the time with two mercenaries contracted for a terrorist operation.

Levine: two main questions – the first about adaptation, about updating being an end in itself, but the second it about empathy’s role in political art, political theatre.

Are we really talking about what effect the piece generates in the real world?  One problem with sympathy is that you can feel it while still remaining passive.

Simone Weil characterized as a “social justice actor”, cushioned by privilege – but would one rather that she didn’t at all?  Is the risk of complacency more pernicious than ignorance?


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