Stories of … Mistreatment

The KISS song has ended … people scurry back to their seats … except for one rather annoying late-comer who apparently thinks that the intermission lasts 25 minutes and so returns to knock on the closed door mid-scene [hey, thanks for providing the Brechtian alienation device!] …

DL: Political theatre did attempt to come up with a solution to Tara’s point before the intermission … so here we have Violetta, post-sack …

[Documentary theatre

M4: it’s a testament to words inability to convey the facts of historical disaster.  if you want to change things in the real world, maybe being told that words aren’t enough isn’t a good strategy.

GLK: but her silence is relative to the spokespeople, their wall of facts

M4: but if we’re not listening to the facts, isn’t that a problem?

JK: I find it political, in that it’s infuriating that they’re trying to co-opt her experience

W1: I think her relative silence is a contrast, and that it’s powerful

DL: this kind of theatre is descended from Brecht.  Brecht would say that the Courtesan scenes reduce an audience to passivity – that their esthetics are about promoting a static cirumstance where these facts are presented as “eternal”, and immune to change.  His point was to make change seem possible, and these facts contingent in all kinds of ways, to activate the spectators.  The idea of a donation at the end of a show is a test of this …

JK/JB: The Exonerated and the Gov. of Illinois …

JB: that’s about as much as you can ask for …

M9: it seems that part of the Brechtian apparatus is about setting things in the past in order to reveal the complicity of the audience  –

CW: Ruined really isn’t an update of Mother Courage

JBL: But it is the way they’re maketing it

DL: is The Exonerated a fair bar – that it doesn’t count without changing a law?

M10: it sounds like there wasn’t so much artifice in it

[Gellert’s It Is What It Is @ the New Museum ….]

Emilia: it was very comparable to this, I think

DL: well, comparing art and theatre, one is depending on an audience watching not the real people – e.g., The Exonerated – while the other is less structured, but with the real people

M5: I’d rather go to the Museum than the theatre, in a second

JB: how is the museum different from, say, talking to someone at the VA hospital?

M5: They’re doing a lot of the work for you

Emilia: the burnt-out car made a very powerful context for the conversations

W5: it depends on what level of agency you’re comfortable with

DL: does that mean theatre is a medium for cowards

w9: re: all the false memoirs nowaways, it seems like fiction wins – there’s always a desire for these stories – it seems like theatre is always more powerful

JH: the first questions at a fiction reading are always “how much is true?” and “how much research did you do?”

W9: I would rather see a play, where the experience is mediated, than go to the New Museum.  To me, fiction reveals more truth.

DL: My problem with both the NM and the theatre is where you end up afterwards … which of them adds up to any kind of result.  you’re stuck again with this bar of results … you may get more information, but then what?  The example of people signing petitions after a performance, where the act of signing somehow serving to excuse any future action …

FH: the story of iraq survivors writing & performance – this can have a great palpable effect (many examples …)

DL: okay, but there are institutional issues …


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