The role of participation
By participating, audiences are enabled to make decisions, to address critically the issues presented to them and to reflect on the social life within a safe environment offered by the theatrical design. Moreover, immersing in different situations has an unequaled power to entertain. Imagine playing an online computer game, where the success of a task depends on the collaboration with an unknown player. Computer games are known for their property to entertain, to raise self-confidence of the players in the skills they are acquiring and to provide a safe social and cultural environment where different individuals create an ideal community. Now imagine a similar design, but in a real space, with people you can see and interact closely. Imagine how human interaction can intensify the experience and boost the proliferation of skills and knowledge while participants are enjoying a highly entertainment activity.
Applied Drama Techniques
Also known as ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, Forum Theatre is an applied drama technique and participatory theatre practice created to empower audience individuals to lead social change. The technique is at the core of simultaneous dramaturgy, one of the practical applications of the interactive narrative design.
‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ was created in the late 60s by the Brazilian stage director Augusto Boal, as a tribute to Paulo Freire. Based on his belief that theatre embodies a process of sharing and participation empowered by meaning and aim, and following an inexhaustible process of research on dynamic communication, Boal developed several techniques of participatory theatre: Imagine Theatre, Forum Theatre, Invisible Theatre, and Legislative Theatre.
Lead by an oppressive politic and social background, his efforts consisted in establishing a dialog between audience and stage with the aim of exploring the real needs of his community. In addition, he knew that critical thinking is needed to produce effective solutions. Therefore, the oppressed should acquire education and start reflecting on their needs. ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ is basically a form of rehearsal designed for people who want to learn ways of fighting against oppression in their daily lives. The theatrical act by itself is a conscious intervention, a rehearsal for social action based on a collective analysis of shared problems of oppression (Boal).
The spectators of Forum Theatre become an activated public, ‘spect – actors’ (Augusto Boal). They become creators of a new scenario and in the same time, actors and protagonists of their own collective story.
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF A FORUM THEATRE PLAY
Forum Theatre is a theatrical game in which a problem is staged in an unsolved form to which the audience is invited to suggest and act out solutions. The problem is real but the characters are fictional.
The protagonist – the oppressed – is subjected to case of oppression. During the ‚original staging’, the audience will witness the failing of justice and the ‚victory’ of oppression. Thus, the game will challenge audience to wish for the justice to be restored. After the first part of the game ( which is ‚the play’ or the ‚original staging’), a joker (which is the moderator of the game) has a conversation with the audience in order to explain the rules of the game and to connect the actors to the ‘spect-actors’. From this point, spectators are invited to become actors and to find solutions for the unsolved problem. The play starts again and the spectators need to interact and change the course of events. The original actors will have to make things hard for the new actors, so the latter could understand that changing takes time and effort. In the end, along with the participation of the whole group which is formed of all the members of audience, no matter if they become actors or not, the script will be modified from its ‘unsolved’ form to a ‘resolved’ form; the community will join forces to generate a desired resolution and the oppressed will be helped to exceed his or her problem.
If you wish to find out more about or to setup a Forum Theatre event within your organisation, company or institution, you can write to me.
Don’t forget, Forum Theatre is a dynamic creative technique generating new ideas with the help of all the audience; enriches people and makes them stronger. Boal used to say: “Forum Theatre is a rehearsal for life”.
Memodrome is the experience of memory and reenactment
I look back in time through the eyes of my memory. When they fail to see, I call upon the images of my past but they respond to me with restless uncertainty. The work of memory is a beautiful struggle, but never look for truth or reality into my testimony. You will only find me, the one who testifies and my identity made of million pieces of reenacted experiences.
I have envisioned a space where memory could tell the story of Me and You and Us. I leave history in the arms of those who look for consistency and logic and I embrace the hidden secrets of our every day existence recorded by the fragile voice of memory.
Created under the umbrella of Theatre of Testimornies, Memodrome is a platform for new performative interactions: the testifier meets the witness, the roles change until a story comes to life. The script is a simultaneous narrative existing for just a moment in time.
MEMODROME is a theatrical experience that makes use of memory work to create participative performance. A site & narrative-responsive theatre practice, Memodrome was developed as a creative and explorative response to the contemporary culture of archiving personal daily life routines in online stores. We have the ability to archive every moment of our lives with the help of our gadgets, while the ‘clouds’ with their limitless memory support became universal but invisible museums of our identify. And once archived, our story might become a lifeless exhibit.