Friday, 17 October 2008

First impression of drama in the community

I didn't know what to expect from this module because it was a second choice after the creative writing module was cancelled and I also missed the first lesson because I was on a first aid course.

It took a couple of lessons to get into the swing of things and understand what could be achieved on this module, but I have started to gain an interest in what a community is and what happens in this community. Also how a piece of theatre could be created from this and change the ideas of people that may take a stereotypical view on these communities.

After talking about Cardboard Citizens and how all the performers were or are homeless but because of their experiences they can create theatre which is professional and thought provoking. The type of theatre style they use is 'Forum Theatre'.

Forum Theatre was invented by Augusto Boal in the early 1970's to inspire debate between the audience, the performers and the subject matter. Forum Theatre has a central character (a protagonist) encounters a problem which s/he cannot overcome;

the subject-matter will usually be something of importance to the audience which is happening now, often based on a 'shared life experience'.
After the first performance, the audience has a discussion with 'the joker' (this character is the link between performance and audience and will play minor roles within the show).
Once this has been done the show starts again but when ever an audience member feels that the protagonist could have done something different to change what happens after. They stop the performance, replaces the protagonist and plays out what they could have done in this situation. The other characters in the play will react as they feel they should, on a bad day. This will make it difficult for the audience member to succeed but if the idea works then the win the game. the game is not rigged.

Throughout the show many of the audience members will take the stage a play the protagonist. This will turn the performance into a theatrical debate for the audience which the ideas are rehearsed and shared with everyone else.


Mark Griffin said...

Great to have you aboard Dan!


Hello Dan,
I am Mark's father and I hope that you do not think that I am a "spy". I am passionately interested in "Drama in the Community" and I am anxious to see how modern young students react to this method of Boal. I was very interested in your perceptive reaction to "Cardboard Citizens"
I expect Mark has told you about the wonderful work of "Theatre for a Change" in Malawi. I do hope that you will enjoy the course and you are able to use some of your creative wtiting skills during your time at Saint Mary's. I send you my good wishes
Great Respect. Robin