As this is the last time these four presentations – David, Colleen, Gideon, and James – are flying by, it’s perhaps worth it to comment on just how much information is being laid out in front of the audience in such a short amount of time, and in what manner. Each of the four provides a new layer – or two – of context, both about Simone Weil and about Venice Sauvée, often taking their pass at similar bits of information, not unlike different fighter planes strafing the same piece of ground from different altitudes.
Some of this is about simple accretion, about spacing out facts enough for the audience to be able to take them in. Is it only 7 numbers that most adults can hold in their heads without difficulty? With area codes did that sphere of comfort expand to 10? With dramaturgy in the theatre does it expand even more? What sort of mnemonic devices with regard to plot and character have we all internalized from the hours and hours of narrative that spool through our senses throughout our lives?
When Gideon is talking about Weil’s views of the city and state, are we thinking about MD’s characterization of the Obama Inauguration as political theatre? When we hear about Weil’s anguished exile in New York, are we thinking of Euripides’ banishment from Athens? When we hear James talking about Weil’s obsessive tinkering with her text, do we think of the notorious struggles that plagued Christopher Durang after the critical drubbing of Laughing Wild?
Probably not. But what about when we see two soldiers in conversation with a prostitute? Are these figures essential building blocks of stories, or do we need to look even more deeply to our assumptions, to scrape off the letters or numbers that have been painted on each side to the wood grain beneath?