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Online Toolkit

Part 5 - Modules



Together for Peace - Forum Theatre

MAIN THEMESIntercultural dialogue, conflict transformation.
DURATION1 whole day.
AIMSThe aim of Forum Theatre is to critically analyze social interactions and conflicts between different actors/ groups in a local community and to identify solutions to the existing challenges using an inclusive community approach based on trial and error.
  
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES OR SERVICESForum Theatre is a form of social theatre developed by Augusto Boal. It has been an instrument and medium to critically analyse social interactions and conflicts between different actors and groups, and to identify solutions to the existing challenges using an inclusive community approach. (see more about Forum Theatre below).

Before starting your Forum Theatre session, introduce the participants to the methodology of Forum Theatre and the reason for choosing this tool. Then, explain the rules of the session carefully. For the safety of the group and the participants, it is important that one should not play him/herself in the conflict and people should not use their real names.

The rules (see below)

Instructions:
Divide groups into 5-7 people and give each group 45 minutes to:
- to share about the different conflicts they have experienced,
- to select one example from the conflicts shared and make it into a play,
- to rehearse the play at least once.

The procedure
Present your sketch fully.
Discussion time.
Identification of situation (conflict; analytical tools: phases, actors, relations between actors, iceberg, ABC-Triangle).
Repetition of the sketch.
Intervention of spect-actors to propose a solution to the conflict.
Say "STOP" to freeze the sketch and to replace one role in the sketch.
Only one intervention during one repetition.
Victim and perpetrator cannot be changed.
After the rerun of the play, the group should analyse the process again using the conflict models. If so desired, the group could have the possibility to try another style of intervention and present the play again.
  
HUMAN RESOURCES NECESSARY1 facilitator to moderate the process of the activity. Minimum of 2 groups with at least 3 people per group.
MATERIALSMaterials usually depend on the scenes of the play.
METHODOLOGY USEDForum Theatre.
WHERE WAS IT USED?Together for Peace Training Course in Kobuleti, June 2010.
FURTHER INFORMATIONAcademy for Peace (info@apd.ge)
United Network of Young Peacebuilders (info@unoy.org)
Theatre of the Oppressed (www.theatreoftheoppressed.com


The Rules
  • Develop a sketch, based on a real conflict situation in your community (agree on only one example).
  • Ensure that at least one person knows the situation very well and was involved in the conflict.
  • Do not use your real names, nor the real names of the persons in the original story.
  • Ensure that nobody who was involved in the original story plays her/himself in the sketch.
  • Present a clear victim (oppressed) in your sketch.
  • Present a clear perpetrator (oppressor) in your sketch.
  • Include by-standers in your sketch.
  • Ensure that your sketch is not longer than five minutes.
  • Leave the conflict unsolved.


Forum Theatre

The Theatre of the Oppressed, a term coined by Brasilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal, is a series of theatrical analysis and critiques developed in the 1950s. It is largely based on the idea of dialogue and interaction between actors and audience.

Simultaneous dramaturgy. Actor-Audience interaction. Simultaneous dramaturgy is a technique involving the audience and allowing them to play an important role in theatrical work. The actors on stage will stop at a certain scene of the play and ask the audience to propose solutions to the situations of the characters. Through this approach, interaction between the actors and the audience becomes part of the play, thereby promoting dialogue between the two, and empowering the audience to direct the course of the play. This sense of empowerment given to the audience is similar to political activism, thus the name "Theatre of the Oppressed."

Forum theatre comes from "simultaneous dramaturgy" where the concept of the "audience" became a dominant force within Boal's theatre work. As part of this technique, the actors or any member of the audience could stop a performance, often a short scene in which a character was in some way being oppressed. The audience would suggest different actions for the actors to carry out on-stage in an attempt to change the outcome of what they were seeing. This was an attempt to bring audience members into the performance, to have an input into the dramatic action they were watching. Through this process, the audience is given the opportunity to realize and experience the challenges of achieving the improvements him/herself suggested.

The Forum theatre technique is played as follows: the actors (either professional actors or non professionals drawn from oppressed communities) perform scripted and pre-planned plays that consist of a specific type of oppression relevant to the audience. After reaching the scripted conclusion, in which the oppressed character(s) fail to overturn their oppression, the actors begin the production again.

At any point during this second performance, any member of the audience may call out "stop!" and take the place of the actor portraying the oppressed individual. From there the audience can give suggestions or instructions to the "new" actors, who will improvise the solution. Here, the audience-actor is not just encouraged to suggest solutions but to actually "do" or practice that solution, and reflect collectively on the suggestions made.

www.theatreoftheoppressed.com
Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Nick Montfort. "From Theatre of the Oppressed." The NewMediaReader. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2003. 339-52.
Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Nick Montfort. "From Theatre of the Oppressed." The NewMediaReader. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2003. p. 334.