Contextia, that Magic Land

A second Courtesan, a victim of international sex traffic …

DL: Okay, so it’s not a museum piece any more …

W1/O: but we’re not seeing the whole piece – and we usually invest in wholes … it’s hard to see just a scene.  making it now – in the present – means making it a longer piece, because we know more that needs to be part of the story.

M3: it makes it more of a fiction – it doesn’t have to do with anything here – we’ve already seen that story through Frontline …

DL: But this is a normal theatrical move, to update – what are you accomplishing with this, rather than with a museum piece?

JG: The museum piece isn’t as emotionally charged, so it’s more of a blank slate.  The second scene is more emotionally charged – it may be more emotionally satisfying, but I might not walk away with the same ability to think that the distance would give me.

W1/O: Also, Greek theatre is totally political – it came right out of current events.  Now we’re limited to fewer, smaller events.  If we had theatre taking place with the focus and the scale of national events – the Chinese Olympics – we’d have something different …

M4: Also, Weil is choosing to use a metaphor – she’s empowering the audience to make an interpretive leap.  It can be remote, but still a story where people can enter in.

M5: It’s also more subversive.  I’m a theatre-goer, I don’t want to have it shoved down my throat.

DL: Right, but if you’re given that autonomy – which seems like “good theatre” – is that going to spur to you action?

[General Furor to this suggestion.]

DL: But what is the impulse to modernize?  People do this.

M2: Cachet – fashion – to sell tickets.

DL: But if it does sell tickets, it’s still a question.

JG: E.g. Brecht’s comment – that an audience of Creons could see Antigone and sympathize with her, and then go out afterwards and keep being Creons.  Art is there to complicate things – if a meteor’s about to hit earth, no one’s going to run to the playwrights and directors to solve it – there’ s a really different task, and maybe we can look at the best effect as being more subtle or cumulative …

DL: But isn’t that impulse often met with mistrust? [insert the example of Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children]  Doesn’t this seem like a less trsutful vision, since it’s requiring a kind of action.

M6/EK: often political art is simply art that isn’t good enough on its own.  isn’t this why people take old plays and change them – because the art part is already vetted.  if someone does a new play it has to climb a bigger hill.

M4: the story of a play banned in Israel about the 1st century Roman occupation …

CW: I would also argue that Churchill is super-trustful of her theatre, to think that a 10 minute play is enough to get people in.

GLK: also, it’s not like the charity is “Rockets for Hamas” either …


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