Friday, June 03, 2005

Theatre of the Oppressed

Augusto Boal on Democracy Now today. Very interesting interview. He is the founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed movement in Brazil and globally.

An excerpt, explaining the Forum Theater:
We present the play, whatever the theme is, whatever the problem is. We present the play, and then we look at like normal spectators. But at the end we say, okay, this ended in failure. So how could we change the events? Everything is going to change in society and our biological life. Everything's always changing. Nothing's going to stay the way it is. All is going to -- so how can we change this for better? And then we start again the same play and we invite the audience to anytime they want to say stop, go to replace the protagonist and show alternatives. So we learn from one another. You have in the scene the wrong solution, the wrong way. And then we try to see what is the right way. We don't know. We don't do the political theatre of the 50s in which we had the propaganda. You had an idea, you have a message. We don’t have the message, we have the questions. We bring -- what can you do? And democratically, everyone can say stop and jump on the scene and try a solution or an alternative and then we discuss that alternative and then a second or third, as many as people are there. So what we want is to develop the capacity of people to create, to use their intelligence, to use their sensibility, because we live in a society which is very imperative, who says all of the time: Do this, Go that way, dress this way, eat that. And we don't want the orders, we don't want the imperative mood. We want the subjunctive theater, in which we say, how would it be if it were like that? Then we ask, we bring questions. We don't bring certitudes, but the questions. The doubts are the seeds of certitudes. Then some certitude comes out. But it is from everyone. Everyone has the right to speak their word and to act their thoughts, not only to talk about, but to act their thoughts.

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