And Violetta the Dramaturg gets a round of knowing laughter, and applause …
DL: So okay, what about the two talking heads do you agree with?
JG: both, really – I agree with James’ critique of the institutions, but I also think that there are things that could be done to make theatre more interesting.
DL: Like what?
JG: Like this – not that public conversations are the answer –
DL: Right, this is going to broadway!
[sidebar on advertising for theatre]
W10: well, ours isn’t a theatre-based society.
DL: okay, but this is a dark question – so revive me – but, okay, we were talking about the prevalence of beer in downtown theatre. everyone does it – isn’t it over? and my friend said it only makes it bearable, because already everything’s happening in such stretched circumstances.
EK: story of divulging the plot of Take Me Out to couple, the news of it being about a gay ballplayer ruining their entire evening …
DL: quote, “Joe’s Pub is connected to a theatre?”
W7: Well, what’s happening with all those people energized by Obama – has the action from it followed through, the calls for national service, the scope of people who heard that is huge, but have people taken it up? I think it takes a lot to move people, even now that push has come to shove, and people are angry, but still there’s a lot of passivity.
M9: does the problem go beyond political theatre, that it’s more a question of an activated citizenry?
DL: it raised Simone Weil’s idea of engagement – the constant amping up stakes – she’s eccentric, but she is also bringing suffering into people’s homes by example.
W1: But it’s single – it’s only touching a few people, and it’s from the aristocracy – compared to the factory workers in Illinois who refused to leave their workplace. There’s an idea of collective action that seems much more forceful.
M2: there is an element of SW as a dilettante
M8: saying SW’s only dramatic work also misses the point that her life was also an act of drama – however futile it might have been.
M2: but we’re sitting here – she wrote a play, and that’s a powerful statement about the power of theatre.
W11: was she really thinking about theatre or was she just writing a play? is doesn’t seem to me that she was necessarily interested in theatre as such – she was interested in various behaviors and power and politics. but this whole conversation has been posited about question of an audience and a stage, and I don’t think that has to be connected to her intention. is she just inhabiting a genre with a set of contraints to examine a political problem?
M10: I’m not here because of SW, I’m here because of the theatrical event.
[the unarmed parachuting nurse brigade story is laid out …]
DL: the point being that SW was inherently theatrical. the idea that she’s a rich chick who gets saved is the same complaint made to political theatre in general – that we dip in and then duck out.
JG: So many revolutionaries have come from the ranks of the rich or the bourgeoisie