From spectator to protagonist
A progressive course for practitioners, facilitators and those with a grounding in the fundamental techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed. This training is designed to enrich and enhance participants confidence, experience and abilities with Boal’s method of theatre and therapy – the Rainbow of Desire – and the opportunity to analyse, deconstruct and embody the central and enigmatic role of the Joker.
“We must all do theatre – to find out who we are, and to discover who we could become.”
– Augusto Boal
In the 1970s junta-era Brazil, Augusto Boal developed forum theatre to help spec-actors explore options in response to external oppressors – cops, landlords, the military, the dictatorship itself. When he fled in exile to Europe, he discovered that the oppressors had ceased to be solely external, and infact had left the barracks and moved into spectactors’ heads, negating the need for a physical oppressor. In response, he used the foundation of Image Theatre to develop a therapeutic theatre to address and explore these cops-in-the-head.
A progressive course for practitioners, facilitators and those with already a solid understanding of the fundamentals and application the arsenal of techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed. This training is designed to enrich and enhance participants confidence, experience and abilities with Boal’s method of theatre and therapy – the Rainbow of Desire – and the opportunity to analyse, deconstruct and embody the central and enigmatic role of the Joker.
“The joker has the most responsibility in coordinating the creators, because everyone has to be involved creating. As the joker you have the responsibility to coordinate all the creations and the creators. But you also have to take care not to impose your own view. You are not superior to anybody. You have your opinion, you have your intelligence, you can have all the qualities you have, but you never say I am like this or I have more knowledge of this; that is the basics of it. Why is it called the joker?… A joker, a real joker, is a person who can help the people write a play, help people do the blocking of the play, help the people with the music, with the text, with everything … the responsibility is to learn more and more and know more and more, so that you can teach in many ways. That is a bigger responsibility. But you have to teach in a democratic way, to respect the other ones.”
This week-long training will explore two fundamental aspects of Boal’s work:
- Rainbow of Desire – methods for exploring the dynamics of internalised oppression that can reduce our potency for social engagement and community participation, including Cop In The Head, the eponymous Rainbow itself.
- The Role of the Joker – facilitator and difficultator, a bridge between actors and audience, a mediator and an agitator, a shaman and a trickster. The joker embodies the values, concepts and actions at the heart of the Theatre of the Oppressed, but is never dogmatic about them.
Participants can expect to gain:
- a good understanding of the application of the introspective techniques and the games and exercises that underpin them
- critical abilities to assess and enable their skills as a Joker through praxis and peer-review
- opportunity to Joker a piece of Forum Theatre.
- key skills needed to use these tools in a variety of situations (e.g. community empowerment, campaign development, group work facilitation, conflict transformation).