Short Oral response of Augusto Boal's Image THeatre

Essay by ruby_redHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2004

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Augusto Boal, theatre innovator, viewed 'Aristotelian' or traditional theatre as oppression and domination. You were either an actor, who had your character and their actions imposed upon you by a director, the tyrannical dictator of theatre, or you were a spectator, passively watching the spectacle onstage that would very often have nothing to do with your life. Through his various forms of TO, Boal was able to turn the audience of spectators into spect-actors, protagonists, lively participants. At the beginning of his theatrical career, Boal sought to change the manner in which traditional theatre was interpreted and performed. However, he soon began to experiment with theatre as a tool of revolution in his native country of Brazil, where people were often very poor, down-trodden and could see no way of changing their situation. Boal helped these oppressed people to realise that they could change their circumstances and also how to change them through his theatrical workshops with the oppressed.

In Forum Theatre, a scripted scene of a specific oppression is presented to an audience, who after watching the play the whole way through once, watch it again, this time, however they are, as you will be, allowed to yell STOP to halt the action, enter the scene as one of the characters, and try to break the oppression - change the situation from oppression as it is to the world as it could be with the oppression broken. When an audience member enters the scene every actor heightens the oppression, trying to bring the scene back to its original conclusion. This continues many times, until a decision is reached, or all possibilities exhausted, or time runs out, etc. The aim of Forum Theatre is not to 'win', but to stimulate discussion and analysis of the situation and solutions...