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Monday, February 14, 2005

Augusto Baol, “Theatre of the Oppressed” from New Media Reader

It is important not to lose sight of how much his interactive techniques emphasize embodiment. Could cyberspaces in which users have simulated bodies have any of the qualities of engagement that characterize their embodied counterparts?

First Degree: Simultaneous Dramaturgy
Then the actors stop the performance and ask the audience to offer solutions.
While the audience “writes” the work the actors perform it simultaneously.
This form of theater starts to demolish the wall that separates actors from spectators.
Second Degree: Image Theater
The participant is asked to express his opinion using only the bodies of the other participants and “sculpting” with them a group of statues.
It is so easy to practice and because of its extraordinary capacity for making thought visible.
Third Degree: Forum Theater
It is not the place of the theater to show the correct path, but only to offer the means by which all possible paths may be examined.
We are used to plays in which the characters make the revolution on stage and the spectators in their sears feel themselves to be triumphant revolutionaries. Forum theater, as well as these other forms of a people’s theater evoke in him a desire to practice in reality the act he has rehearsed in the theater.
Fourth Stage: The Theater as Discourse
The bourgeoisie presents the spectacle. On the other hand, the proletariat and the oppressed classes do not know yet what their world will be like; consequently their theater will be the rehearsal, not the finished spectacle.
1) Newspaper Theater
It consists of several simple techniques for transforming daily news items, or any other non-dramatic material, into theatrical performances.
2) Invisible Theater
The invisible theater calls for the detailed preparation of a skit with a complete text or a simple script.
In the insisible theater the theatrical rituals are abolished; only the theater exists, without its old, worn-out patterns. The theatrical energy is completely liberated, and the impact produced by this free theater is much more powerful and longer lasting.
3) Photo-Romance
When at the end of the performance, the participants are told the origin of the plot they have just acted out, they experience a shock.
They will no longer assume a passive, expectant attitude, but instead a critical, comparative one.
4) Breaking of Repression
The technique of breaking repression consists in asking a participant to remember a particular moment when he felt especially repressed, accepted that repression, and began to act in a manner contrary to his own desires.
The process to be realized, during the actual performance or afterward during the discussion, is one that ascends from the phenomenon toward the law; form the phenomena presented in the plot toward the social laws that govern those phenomena.
5) Myth Theater
The myths told by the people should be studied and analyzed and their hidden truths revealed.
6) Analytical Theater
Each character is broken down into all his social roles and the participants are asked to choose a physical object to symbolize each role.
Human actions are not the exclusive and primordial result of individual psychology.
7) Rituals and Masks
This is an extraordinarily rich technique which has countless variants: the same ritual changing masks; the same ritual performed by people of one social class, and later by people of another class; exchange of masks within the same ritual; etc, etc.
Conclusion: “Spectator,” a Bad Word!
The spectator frees himself; he thinks and acts for himself! Theater is action!


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