A Third Way?

Another idea not based on sympathy, advocacy or documentary information … a scene of captured mercenaries, in chains, awaiting torture.

Levine: this represents a classical approach to dread, to torture, to suffering … it observes the unities, but the real activity’s happening offstage.  It also raises the counter-example of a play like Blasted

So how do we feel about atrocities on stage?

Well, the Soho Rep was a really good production … it worked, where those things rarely do –

What do you mean by “worked”?

Actually, I didn’t like it – it was a laundry list of horror –

But what do you mean “work”?

Well, they managed to do it without people laughing.

What’s the difference between Blasted and the blinding of Gloucester in King Lear?

Does some of this reference Artaud?  The idea of acting on the audience’s bodies – to leave them so shaken by the work to make the audience feel themselves as victims – is that effective, or does it in fact neutralize people’s effectiveness?

Is the power of Blasted to fire people up to make sure war doesn’t happen ever again?  Is that really what we’re talking about?

But isn’t that an essentially pornographic effect – that you’re confusing a purely physical response with a political one?

Yes, is the real question about to what end something has been represented?

Doesn’t it also seem that audiences are less monolithic these days, that it’s all but impossible to achieve a uniform effect?

But what does that do to the idea of creating a collective out of an audience?


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