That’s Natural, but It’s Wrong

The two perpetrators on top of the Bell Tower, Renaud and Jaffier …

DL: so that’s the opposite of sympathetic – does it activate your sense of social justice in a different way?

M1: I’m caught up with his rhetoric, even though I’m still waiting for an emotional punch – but I am waiting to find out where it goes, even though I don’t like him

W1: there’s a story arc, which we can feel, or also there are these facts that we get from a modern perspective – in all these cases it seems like the way facts get organized into fiction dictates the effectiveness

W5: also here there are no victims with faces

W4: I wonder about SW’s opinions of the state and its use of violence – I watch this and I’m like “wow, I hate the state too” – she really strips it down

DL: one thing that happens in the scene – people have compared it to neo-con tactics before the invasion of iraq – is that it does model a vision of effective political theatre: Jaffier is a good audience member, who takes in the information he gets and changes his behavior … but the question, for all of these is what we’re going to do?

M7: but do we need emotion?  people who are saying the courtesan is more emotionally real in one scene or another – I don’t need to be presented with a charming african to see that rights and reform is a good thing to happen?

M2: sympathy is just giving money.  is money action?

W6: and who goes to see this theatre?  how much are they paying?

DL: if we’re being skeptical about giving money being action, what should we expect?

M7: we should be clear that we are asking a lot, yes – but I think we should want to have change.  but, for example, I saw the R/J scene mapping onto Iraq, but the fact that the mapping isn’t 1-1 makes it even more interesting, it allows me to clarify the contours in our present circumstances

MJ: if the whole shape is drawn for me, there’s less participation – there’s more meaning in the scene the more I’m forced to invest myself in understanding and completing

LDA: are there any scenes that aren’t rooted in naturalism?  it seems to me that there are other forms that carry more power – the way that Rite of Spring caused a riot.  I see this last scene in terms of speeches I’ve heard in films or on the news …

DL: sure, but it’s also not 1917, and RoS was an expressionistic piece slipped into a venue where the audience expected something conventional – it’s not like it happened at La Mama.

M4: what about the Diggers in SF in the ’60’s?  they accomplished all kinds of things.

M8: for me, all these scenes, the fact that these are actors … it just gets in the way for me – all this theatre and acting – it’s very hard for me to see past.  I like the discussion, and would really prefer it without the theatrical baggage …

DL: well, in all of this we’ve been pretty much taking theatre at its word.  let’s take a break and then come back in the second half, where we can try something else …


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