We see the first Violetta scene, a post-Bosnia imagination of the Sack of Venice …
DL: Does that feel less hectoring? Is there more room? Does the information change? Relative to the 2nd courtesan scene, where some people thought things felt forced, does this strike you in a different way?
[The Exonerated, its post-perf collections for legal aid, the idea that somehow the show itself isn’t “enough”, the desire for authenticity, etc.]
CW: I would say that isn’t about trust, so much as a statement of gravity
EK: but aren’t we elevating it somehow, that the impersonation of “real people” is being held to be more serious than “normal theatre”
MD: well, there’s also a difference between a video, made of pixels, and a theatre piece, which is people in a room
DL: There is a tension between empathy and facts – does the desire to be moved trump the possibility of political action?
W7: it’s also about the audience? what’s the context? that would change everything, and is just as important as anything in the play, content-wise.
MD: What would it take to activate this room now?
M1: there’s still a lot of artistry in this – and with statistics – first, we want to know where they came from
EK: But I don’t need to go to the theatre to know that killing a gay man in Wyoming is bad
CN: But aren’t you curious about what conditions could let that happen?
EK: Not really.
PL: But it’s also about attention – you know all sorts of things are bad. if something in wyoming is brought within your attention skillfully, you’re going to be more disposed to care
DL: Let’s go back to Mike’s question: we are the types to come to this seminar – some esthetes, some are activists, some are in between (or annoyed) – but could theatre enable some kind of political change, in this room?
AML: maybe – there’s no much relevance here, so much with Simone Weil, I don’t see why it couldn’t inspire all kinds of things.
W4: I think it’s telling that the example we came with – the exonerated – is about a powerful person seeing it, not about the masses
MD: but the masses are individuals – audiences break apart
MAD: yeah, there doesn’t have to be a riot for the event to have credence – the revolution could be quiet and take as long as evolution, it can take a long time
MD: though I’m in favor of revolution too
MAD: yeah, but the desire for people to see the change isn’t the best benchmark
W5: the difference between watching movies in a crowd and watching theatre. an audience’s role in theatre is to socialize our wild natures. the audience is crucial. that’s where change happens.
DL: but that’s a utopian visision … the story of the yokel standing up to save Desdemona
SS: it’s also a recent phenomenon to not participate in the theatre – to shout or demand to see things again – that’s changed pretty recently to something much more constrained
M1: yes, we don’t think about people shouting “don’t go behind the arras!” anymore …
CW: there is a whole other world of theatre that people are ignoring, the so-called “chitlin circuit” – it’s a whole other social scene, with relatively clunky characters and dialogue, but hugely interactive audience and totally alive
DL: that raises the idea of partcipation – the model of what we want and how we’re trained …