Boal- Theater of the Oppressed

I enjoyed the way Boal’s writing presented such a negative topic, oppression, with so much hope. I thought that his perspective on this type of theater, that “it shows reality not only as it is, but as it could be” was refreshing. His presentation of the actor/non-actor dialectic was also very intruiging. The story about the theatrical performances in the prison especially drew my attention. The results of those experiences proved just how influential theater can be- even when those performing are not necessarily actors. The way the prison performances impacted the relations between prisoners and guards by opening their eyes to each other’s situations shows that sometimes you don’t need to change something as drastic as a policy or law, sometimes you only need to increase awareness of and sensitivity to the people around you.

This example reminded me of the Occupy movements that we discussed in class last week. Likely, the people participating in these movements are not actors, but they are attempting to enact change through their performances. Their sign-holding, chanting, camping out and protesting is all part of their attempt to increase awareness of the struggles they are facing. They all have the same hope as Boal- to increase understanding of basic human rights, “the respect for one’s neighbor.”


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