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Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a dance piece where in the first half the dancers danced, and in the second.

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Presentation on theme: "Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a dance piece where in the first half the dancers danced, and in the second."— Presentation transcript:

1 Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed

2 “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a dance piece where in the first half the dancers danced, and in the second they showed the audience how to dance? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a musical where in the first half the actors sang, and in the second we all sang together?”

3 “For me this is how magicians should be: first they should do their magic to enchant us, then they should teach us their tricks. This is also how artists should be- we should be creators and we should also teach the public how to be creators, how to make art, so that we may all use that art together.”

4 Augusto Boal April 16, May 2, feature=PlayList&p=DF754417F264BC13&playn ext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=46 eature=PlayList&p=DF754417F264BC13&index =47&playnext=2&playnext_from=PL

5 Artists should “help others to stimulate inside themselves the artists that lie within.” “We all are theatre, even if we don’t make theatre.”

6 It is fundamental to Boal’s work that anyone can act and that theatrical performances should not be solely the province of professionals. The dual meaning of the word ‘act’, to perform and to take action, is also at the heart of the work.

7 Three main categories of Theatre of the Oppressed: 1.Image Theatre 2.Invisible Theatre 3.Forum Theatre It is never didactic to its audience Involves a process of learning together rather than one-way teaching It assumes that there is much likelihood of the audience knowing the answers as the performers

8 IMAGE THEATRE A series of exercises and games designed to uncover essential truths about societies and cultures without resort, in the first instance, to spoken language The participants make still images of their lives, feelings, experiences, oppressions Groups suggest titles or themes, and then individuals ‘sculpt’ three- dimensional images under these titles, using their own and others’ bodies as the ‘clay’

9 The image work never remains static- the frozen image is simply the starting point to the action- the dynamisation process, the bringing to life of the images and the discovery of whatever direction or intention is innate in them. Images work across language and culture barriers and frequently reveal unexpected universalities Can be more democratic as it does not privilege more verbally articulate people

10 INVISIBLE THEATRE Public theatre which involves the public as participants in the action without their knowing it They are the ‘spect-actors’ Theatre does not take place in a theatre building or other obvious theatrical context, with an audience which does not know its an audience Several actors rehearse a scene which they can play in an appropriate pubic space

11 The scene usually involves an unexpected subversion of ‘normal’ behaviour within that particular society In reaction to the incidents in the scene, the public becomes involved in an argument, usually aided by a couple of agents-provocateurs actors mingling with the public and expressing extreme and opposite reactions to the events of the scene Way of using theatre to stimulate debate, getting people to question issues in a public forum The audience is free to take any position it wants, and has no feeling of being preached at. It asks questions without dictating the answers.

12 FORUM THEATRE A theatrical game in which a problem is shown in an unsolved form, to which the audience, again spect-actors, is invited to suggest and enact solutions. The problem is always the symptom of an oppression, and generally involves visible oppressors and a protagonist who is oppressed.

13 After one showing of the play ‘the model’ it is shown again slightly speeded up, and follows the exact same course until a member of the audience shouts ‘Stop!’, takes the place of the protagonist and tries to defeat the oppressors. The game is a form of contest between spect-actors trying to bring the play to a different end (in which the cycle of oppression is broken) and actors ostensibly making every possible effort to bring it to its original end (in which the oppressed is beaten and the oppressors are triumphant).

14 The process is presided over by the ‘Joker’- whose job is to ensure a smooth running of the game and teach the audience the rules, however, like all participants can be replaced if the spect-actors think they aren’t doing a good enough job. Many different solutions are enacted in the course of a single forum- the result is a pooling of knowledge, tactics and experience, and at the same time what Boal calls a ‘rehearsal for reality’

15 Used in schools, factories, day centres, community centres, with tenants’ groups, homeless people, disabled people, people in ethnic minorities, and so on- anywhere where there is a community which shares an oppression. Its aim is to always stimulate debate (in the form of action, not just words), to show alternatives, to enable people ‘to become the protagonists of their own lives’.

16 BOAL’S PHILOSOPHY Boal doesn’t like labels or people categorizing his work as ‘Marxist’ or ‘Brechtian’ as they are limiting and eliminate the possibility of change or individuality. In sympathy with the oppressed in any situation and the belief in humanity’s ability to change Sees the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ as only one of many forms of theatre, not the only one, but one which can live happily alongside the others. About acting rather than talking, questioning rather than giving answers, analysing rather than accepting Theatre as a force for change.


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