See Everyone in this City as a Toy

Jaffier: “So there’s no going back.”

Renaud: (Smiles.) “Back … where?”

DL: Does that ring more true?

M2: It does seem to fill in the gaps – of perspective – that we feel in the Courtesan’s vision of things.

M7: I think the occupation that he’s describing is what the Nazis did in Europe (if not France) – e.g., destroying Tolstoy’s house – it was a very conscious decision to destroy their culture.

SC: it also tracks directly to Rumsfeld.

DL: Which raises the question, if you’re thinking about theatrically – what’s the motive behind this kind of updating, of wanting the piece to map directly onto present circumstances …

W6: with Godot in NOLA, Paul Chan spent a lot of time in that community – it was also about activating those people through the work – just getting an audience to the show was a big thing

CW: Even if it was a NY production that was brought there.

Emilia: I think there’s are an element of hubris to it – “I want to watch a piece about me – that reflects my perspective -”

CW: Or is it simply a desire to see something that you connect with?  for people in the 9th ward, that could be huge –

M2: it also depends on what the audience brings to it – what you project upon this depends on what your own media context is, whether you read the times or watch fox news …

DL: but also, what does a vision of 17th century venice offer to you, really?

Hanny: there was fascism in Venice, doesn’t that mean we ought to be talking about iraq pre-invasion as much as after?

DL: the oft-stated desire for someone to write ‘a decent political play from the pov of the right.’  the updated version is something to make people think that they do something in their own world, but showing them their world in the play.

[Seven Jewish Children @ NYTW – and Geoffrey Scott is in the haus!]

DL: does the requirement for a donation push the play into the area of propapanda?

W8: although I approve of it – I think it is propaganda

GS: there are many ways that Caryl Churchill wanted people to handle this.  we didn’t actually pass around the hat, but provided information – internally there was discomfort within the organization with requiring a donation.

DL: but doesn’t that neutralize the political content?  doesn’t it contain the possible results?

GS: we thought that if you required a donation we would exclude people who disagreed, that it would actually prevent a possible dialogue, by allowing sections of the audience to excuse themselves

DL: can political theatre have any kind of salutary effect without a talk-back?

M4: the play can’t make the decision for me, with regard to action – that has to be up to the audience

DL: doesn’t that set the bar pretty low for art?

M4: but that might be a good thing.  don’t we know what those conversations – about advocacy – are like already?

W1: more people are likely to read an article about one person dying in the Tsunami than one about a thousand people. if something is localized in an individual it’s easier to understand.  I think political theatre has a hard time because it seems like it’s always going for the cause first and the person – the individual stories – second.

DL: that’s a great point to pause on … and we can come back with a couple common responses to that very real problem.


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