In a series of presentations, the notion of a republic is bounced around – 17th century Venice, 1940’s France, present-day America. Even at this early point the apparent fluidity of these references raises the issue of specificity, the degree to which one can map one historical situation onto another, and the minimum requirements, in terms of both esthetics and factual content, for such comparisons to be made without being lazy, glib, or pernicious.
And against this backdrop of dramaturgical badminton, we’re introduced to Simone Weil herself, and automatically there’s a striking contrast between her insistence on physical testimony with regard to politics and social injustice, and even, later in life, her religious fervence.
The tension between her life and our own far more casual (and comfortable, and risk-free) speculation is both obvious and – for the most part, because the disjunction flatters no one – generally, so far at least, ignored. This being the exact challenge for this new round of participants, and – yet again – for the members of the cast to take on or refuse.