November 30, 2009

Stealing another idea from the left - Theater of the Oppressed (another in a series of crackpot ideas that occur to me at 0300)

As I have mentioned before after being laid off in January I decided to squander my savings and return to school. (I decided I actually need a degree if I am going to keep working in engineering.) In order to finish my distribution requirements I needed one more Visual Literary and Performing Arts class so I decided to take the only one offered this quarter - Intro to World Theater. Most of the class has been pretty benign although there was some -read lots of - kill whitey stuff in our section on African American theater. Benign until (dramatic pause) THEATER OF THE OPPRESSED.

Developed by Augusto Boal as a tool for stirring up the oppressed masses in Central and South America he intended it to be full on Marxist-Leninist agitprop:

"The theater is a weapon and it is the people who should wield it"
I pointed this out in class, and the instructor to his credit readily acknowledged it, but until I was finishing up my weekly class journal this morning it didn't really hit me - We're people and at the moment I am feeling pretty damned oppressed.   When people on the right (Giles / O'Keefe) started using Alinsky style tactics it got immediate results.  Why couldn't this work also?  Anyone feel like writing a play? 

The example of this type of theater that was used in class was "No saco nada de le escuela", but Boal wanted to go more primitive than that. He wanted the "peasants" involved as actors (spect-actors). By involving them he "was letting them write the story and come to their own conclusions" Of course if their conclusions were wrong whatever marxist revolutionary gang happened to be presenting the play was likely to engage in some re-education. Probably via a 7.62mm instructional aid, but Boal was OK with that.

Another example that I found is called IN-TEA-RRO-R-GATOR which proceeds from the idea that all interrogation is torture.  This is one I would really like to see turned around and presented from the viewpoint of someone like Daniel Pearl as he is about to be beheaded. 

Posted by: chad98036 at 07:20 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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