We see Simone Weil’s vision of torture, the prisoners awaiting torture and certain death in the street …
DL: it’s a fairly classical torture scene –
CW: I’ll say!
[sympathy for knees is raised as a locus of both suffering and politics]
DL: Blasted is the other big hit of last year, along with Black Watch.
W11: how is political theatre different from political theatre?
DL: more importantly, how is the situation of being in a theatre political, period?
[précis of Blasted by Señor Krupp …]
DL: Blasted considers the audience as a mass, as a body – and it considers that classic off-stage dramaturgy isn’t enough. it’s a different – more adversarial – take on the audience
SS: I liked it, but it didn’t fuck me up. I spent more time thinking about what a cool thing it was to be pulled off onstage than on the larger political impact
K: (to DL) why do you get frustrated with that response? why isn’t that a reasonable response to violence?
DL: I have huge questions about – on one hand I think it’s sophomoric, but on the other, Kane had real political aims
W3: I had read it before, and it did fuck me up royally – both seeing it and having it in my head afterwards. maybe it’s just being sensitized by Tarantino movies, but seeing it on stage does make it much more vivid – it seems like we’re going through it as a culture
MD: I thought it was a tremendous production. and though it did make the audience aware of their bodies, I don’t think it’s the only play to do that – other plays don’t reduce people to eyeballs. there’s something that happens in a live space that’s fundamentally different from watching a film
DL: okay, but if you’re shattered by that play, is that what we want?
MD: who’s that “we?” sarah kane?
DL: but in a play like Blasted there’s a difference stance toward the audience. is there a difference with regard to that experience than another, less aggressive, less adversarial sort of play? There are a lot of different approaches – a Brechtian one where you want people to think critically, there’s a Blasted one where you leave people shell-shocked – many others – it says a lot about how you think of those people.
W12: now that there’s so much media available to people, it’s not enough to just put it out there. there’s a duty to make sure that people see it beyond a limited audience. people should do what they expect their audience to do. also, who knows what an audience has been through?
DL: but that’s the Weil thing again – who of us are going to fight in Spain?
W1: what are your responsibilities in showing graphic events on stage, such as rape – especially when there’s a chance there are rape victims in the audience? but also, I don’t know if you can put the burden of audience interest on the artists – that doesn’t seem entirely fair.
DL: do you have to be an activist or do you have to perform and write?
W7: how often do shows paper the house? it’s very hard to get anyone to come to the theatre, especially political theatre.
M7: it might be that the job of communicating is less of an issue now – it’s not enough to isolate a cause, because the laundry list of causes seems virtually endless …
PL: but what does theatre do well? for some of these questions theatre isn’t the right vehicle. it’s fantastic for conveying an in-body experience, but not for everything else –