Blasted as an epitome of a kind of intimate theatre, which ends up raising a range of new political questions with regard to Black Watch – in a sense it’s Artaud to Brecht … does it seem like this is a way of really digging into what theatre can do?
CW: even though there’s a lot of disagreement about what people thought about it
Emilia: It’s also just thing kind of work that defines – and creates – a notion of community, which is in turn feeding into political impact
W1/Tara: isn’t it like journalism? what’s the difference between this theatre and what I would find in a journalistic account? the description of these pieces as “realistic” just makes me wonder what the intent is.
CW: a lot of documentary theatre is actually really more complicated – both in terms of synthesis, but also in terms of actual art – there’s music, there’s a complicated narrative. the story of The Civilians’ Brooklyn at Eye Level and the way it did actually bring together a really large and conflicted community.
M10: when we say something is political theatre, what are we hoping to get out of it? this isn’t 1969 – what would we imagine a real political theatre to be?
DL: isn’t this Weil’s whole issue? All of this is geared to making people aware of an injustice – can you actually make people aware of it in a way that takes their awareness to a new level, to action?
W3: as opposed to Sarah Kane, who’s a British moralist.
DL: when you see someone doing performance art, you may be stunned or impressed, but you don’t usually feel empathy. but the same “events” on stage move you in a different way. Can we compare, for example, Dustin Hoffman’s method acting for Marathon Man to Weil’s attempt to work in factories to raise her own awareness.
W5: but I think she’s doing that work for her own soul, not for a performance
Emilia: there’s no one-size-fits-all for political theatre – I’m happy if there’s an epiphany of “O I didn’t realize that” – a slight change is enough, it doesn’t have to be someone going out and setting bombs or staging protests.
W1: it’s about whether something’s persuasive.
M8: but it seems like the Civilians show is about showing a broad view, not persuading people
M4: and also, the Exonerated was also only part of a large communal campaign to change the death penalty – a piece of theatre also exists in an environment. it doesn’t have to decide whether it’s fictional or real.
DL: or maybe it does …