Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Theatre of the Oppressed

I'm just finishing Augusto Boal's book, the Theatre of the Oppressed. It's very interesting, and it makes me think about theatre and how i'm approaching theatre and why.

The chapters on Arostotlian theatre are academically interesting. The chapters on bourgeois theatre are key to the research i'm supposed to be doing through this blog. The chapters on Brecht and Hegel are useful for my perspectives on writing plays. I've learned about both of them, but nobody ever layed it out as clear and nice as Boal does in this book. Maybe he's not laying it out, as much as simplifiying it and spinning it for his purposes. Anyway, it's interesting that i find myself doing some Brechtian things without knowing why Brecht did them, and yeah, reading brecht didn't make it clear what he was doing, and i've never seen Brecht on stage, but i imagine it wouldn't really come accross that well there either.

The chapters on Boals own method and the Arena Theatre are kinda lame. He's not applying the same kind of philosophical scrutiny to his method as to the others, and his method seems very limiting in respect to things like story and form and craft. But, then i think about it and in his context (Brazil in the 60's) what he's talking about probably works wonderfully. i'm in a different context though, and so i don't have much use for what he's talking about.

At the riverwest follies someone tried to do a "image theatre" piece and it was a total mess. She didn't have the time or the experience right to be able to pull it off, but also, the context is wrong. I think the theatre of the oppressed can only work when you're dealing with The Oppressed, and no one in America is Opressed enough for it. (not that there's no oppression in america, but the degree is quite different).

Also, i don't consider the proletariat a revolutionary class and so i don't think this is "rehearsal for revolution" at least not for a revolution that's actually going to happen. The spontaneous uprising of the proles is a fantasy, and if it did happen it would not be progressive.

anyway, more on this later.

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