imagine dead imagine

In anticipating the study of or encounter with historical genocide, we can defend against or deny our ignorance by means of imagination. This is also a risk in playwriting… We imagine our play, and in writing it, write in terms of what we’ve already discovered… The process of discovery is reduced and reduced (for example, in some workshop processes) so that by the time the play reaches the audience, there’s nothing for them to do except to imagine the play that the production implies.


Discovery is at the heart of witness. It is important that chaos and disaster, as historical subjects, and that plays too for that matter, remain unimaginable, even as we find symbols and spaces for them – our symbols and spaces prompt acts of discovery, acts of presence – symbols suggest meanings rather than capture them.


As witnesses to genocide we can do nothing. Meaning we can be perpetuallydiscovering, perpetually attentive. As playwrights, in all our plays, we can write nothing. We are construing sites of discovery. I’m thinking off the bat of Faulkner’s sentences…

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