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Prompt: “Oppression is a word that means someone with power is treating someone else unfairly. Can you think of scenes from the play where someone was being oppressed, where someone was being treated unfairly?”
For this age group, it is best to work from two person scenes with the teacher playing the role of the oppressing character.
What is oppression or what does it mean to be oppressed?
What were some scenes in the play where a character was being oppressed?
Appendix D has excerpts of scenes from the play where a character is being oppressed. If a student has suggested one of them in discussion, you may work from that scene or suggest another of the scenes to work from.
Begin by reading the scene as a class with volunteers reading each of the parts. Then, explain how students will have the chance to change the scene.
Theatre of the Oppressed and the Spectator
The actors on stage begin reading the scene as written
When a member of the audience sees a chance for things to go differently, they stop the action, take the place of one of the characters, and improvise new words and actions
The teacher allows the students to improvise for a few moments until they bring the scene to a conclusion or gives them a time limit to wrap up the scene
After explaining how students will have the opportunity to intervene, have the performing students read the scene aloud for the class again. This may be a good opportunity for students to write down the point at which they would like to intervene and how they would do so. After the reading, have the performing students read the scene in front of the class. You can begin having students intervene immediately, model an intervention for the class, or talk the first intervening student through the process, depending on the needs of the class.
This technique can be useful for helping students solve problems in the school. Begin by asking students to write about times they have experienced oppression, bullying. They can then share those experiences with a partner or small group if they wish. Those who wish can share with the whole class. If students are comfortable, they can share these experiences in front of the class either as an actor in the situation or by directing volunteers. Using the technique of intervention applied to the excerpts from the play, both the student whose experiences is being represented and other students in the class can have a chance to develop ways of addressing the situation the student faced. Because of the focus of the play, teachers may wish to ask students about times they have faced oppression linked to gender. This may encourage to think about gender-based oppression as a problem faced by all instead of solely trans people.
Boal, A. (1979). Theatre of the Oppressed. (Charles A. & Maria-Odilia Leal McBride, Trans.). London: Pluto. (Original work published 1974).
Coudray, S. (2017, January 28). The Theatre of the Oppressed. Retrieved from http://www.culturematters.org.uk/index.php/arts/theatre/item/2455-the-th...
Freire Institute. (2018). Freire Institute. Burnley, UK: University of Central Lancashire. Retrieved from http://www.freire.org/
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (Myra Bergman Ramos, Trans.). New York: Herder and Herder. (Original work published 1968).
Mandala Center for Change. (n.d.). Theatre of the Oppressed. Retrieved from http://www.mandalaforchange.com/site/applied-theatre/theatre-of-the-oppr...
Saxon, L. (n.d.) Theatre of the Oppressed. Retrieved from http://beautifultrouble.org/theory/theater-of-the-oppressed/
Saxon, L., & Vitzhum, V. (n.d.) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Retrieved from http://beautifultrouble.org/theory/pedagogy-of-the-oppressed/