DL: Let’s switch to a different scene. The dramaturgy here is pretty conventional – it’s about victims, and the stories seem abstract, as if they somehow happened by accident. But here’s a scene between two perpetrators, where we realize that none of this was an accident at all …
[Jon Krupp as Renaud, Jeff Beihl as Jaffier, strut their rhetorical stuff on the top of the Bell Tower, observing the unities as they expound the mechanics of conquering a city …]
DL: it doesn’t seem to be a sympathy-based scene, but it’s clearly political, in terms of content … so what does it do that the first scenes don’t? Does it act in a different way?
W1: But why does it have to be political? It seems like you’re looking for a shred of worth to validate your attention to the play? It all seems like an apology for paying attention to it in the first place?
DL: Not at all – it’s not about politics validating the play, but more the other way around. The play offers a lot of different scenes that allow us to ask a lot of different questions about political theatre. She’s dealing with her circumstances in a way that people are trying to do now, all the time. For example, Renaud’s analysis – is it sound?
W2: Well, if Jaffier is that ignorant about a sack, I don’t know what business he has being in command … but anyway, it does seem like she’s talking about the French experience with regard to the German invasion.
[and here we have a sidebar about the German intentions with regard to sacking France: acquisition of wine, of art, the establishment of Vichy, etc.]
DL: But does this analysis hold beyond 1940?
M3: It also sets up a dichotomy between the perpetrators – one isn’t sure about what to do, while the other is.
DL: description of Public Theatre production of Henry V in the Delecorte, with Liev Schreiber restyled in Iraq – sort of like GWB, sort of not – the whole thing blurring by the end into nonsense. So what do we have here? Rumsfeld and Powell – and Powell ends up selling them out? Okay … let’s do another scene …