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The second “listening rehearsal” for DR could not be more different in style than the first, though they were equally productive. Caroline Donath, a playwright and actor in Stockholm who I contacted through the mailing list of the arts organization Fylkingen (thanks, Hans!), is intense in thought and conversation. Nick and Yuichiro are very laid back and, while they certainly think hard, do so in a way that is very playful. Caroline certainly has a sense of humor, but she definitely took the project seriously…

We met in front of the Nobel Museum, in Gamla Stan, Stockholm, which we both thought was somehow appropriate (their motto: Make a Difference). While we talked through most of the aesthetic and political questions I’ve been working on, we spent the most time talking about possible relationships between performers and audiences. As with Nick and Yuichiro, how to make use of darkness and light was a big part of this.

Two themes that came up repeatedly were Caroline’s faith in the value of documentary content and her conviction that even “ordinary” audiences can be comfortable with uncertainty. She sees a lot of potential in the experience of not-knowing while in the dark and then the theatrical possibilities of revalation, of “bringing to light.”

Another thing that seemed potentially very useful to me, given my concern with both confronting and “taking care” of the audience is that, in Caroline’s view, there’s no reason that we can’t let the darkness be challenging to spectators and also “let love take place in the darkness,” which is a great way to put it. Especially since a theatre of love in darkness would be a kind of opposite of the terror we’re talking about…

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