Use of FT

Usually the theatre of the oppressed is divided in three: ‘image theatre’, ‘invisible theatre’ and ‘forum theatre’. Image theatre is a series of exercises and games where the participants make still images of their lives, feelings, experiences or oppressions. It is a way to make oppression visible. Often image theatre is a starting point for other theatrical action and for change.

Invisible theatre is a public theatre which involves the public as participants in the action without their knowing it. They are the spect-actors of a piece of theatre, but while it is happening, and usually even after the event, they do not know that this is theatre rather than real life. This is theatre which does not take place in a theatre building or not even in a theatrical context. Several actors rehearse a scene which they then play in an appropriate public space.  Often the public becomes involved in an argument.

Forum method can be applied in two different formats, forum theatre and forum plays.

In the forum theatre method the scenes are played out by a group of actors. Audience members can stop a performance, often a short scene in which a character was being oppressed in some way. Then the spectator replaces the actor to determine the solution to a given problem presented by the actor. The problem can also be a real problem that someone in the community is facing.

In forum plays the dilemmas and histories stem from the participants’ everyday life. They are played out and processed by the participants/spect-actors, their inputs and reflections.

Boal’s method has also been called a theatrical game in which a problem is shown in an unsolved form, to which the audience (spect-actors) is invited to suggest and enact solutions. In that way it is possible to bring the audience members into the performance, to have an input into the dramatic action they were watching.

An important character in both forum theatre and forum plays is the facilitator or as he/she is called, the joker. The joker is the one ‘directing’ the performances, facilitating the stories and creating room and possibility for reflection.