Forum Theatre: Examining Oppressive Systems, Exploring Concrete Options
Tuesday, May 30, 10am-6pm EDT*
Wednesday, May 31, 10am-6pm, EDT*
Thursday, June 1, 10am-6pm EDT* followed by a Forum Theatre event that will open up the conference
*with food breaks of course!
Cass Corridor Commons
4605 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
JULIAN BOAL is the facilitator of the Pre-Conference! Julian Boal was a founding member of different collectives in France. He is now part of the Escola de Teatro Popular in Brazil. He has realized workshops and projects in more than 20 countries, and he helped in the realization of Theatre of the Oppressed festivals in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Europe with Pa’tothom, and in South America with CTO-Rio. Julian is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Imagens de um Teatro Popular, Hucitec, 2000), co-editor of Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (Routledge, 2015), and recently completed a PhD in Brazil.
This pre-conference is a 3-day practical workshop with Julian Boal. Far too many times we see Forum Theatre that individualizes problems that actually arise instead from the very structures of our societies. That individualization leads to at least two problems. First, it suggests that oppressions arise from the free will or personal perspectives of evildoers. But of course oppression does not work that way; a white man during apartheid, for example, benefited from racism regardless of whether or not that person held consciously racist personal opinions. Second, to individualize problems implies that it is the responsibility of single individuals to fight back against oppressions that are larger in scope than the individuals themselves. For example, to stress what a specific woman can do at the very moment she is under the threat of being beaten up by her husband reinforces the dangerous idea that she is personally responsible for that violence–or for stopping it herself. This workshop–through games, exercises, and techniques–will focus on finding ways to portray oppressive systems rather than just staging people with so-called “bad” behavior. In this workshop, participants will gain experience with a variety of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, create original Forum Theatre scenes, and discuss the role of the joker figure in Theatre of the Oppressed. The scenes created by the participants will be shared at the opening of the 2017 PTO conference in Detroit.