Theater of the Oppressed

I found Boal’s idea of giving the people the means of production to be most interesting. In the photography experiment, he suggested that giving the people pictures to choose from as opposed to letting them take the pictures themselves would be a form of oppression. This really caught my attention, because I participated in an activity where I had to choose from a given set of pictures to illustrate my answers to certain questions, but I never got the feeling that I was being oppressed. This made me think of oppression in a different manner; perhaps it is nothing more than being deprived of power or choice in some form, making them a “passive being.” We as citizens are often forced to take a passive role at some point; for instance, in making decisions about laws and policies in the government. These decisions are handled mostly by politicians, who get to make executive decisions by which we all have to live by. However, there are some instances where the people can vote on these things. While we have some say in these decisions, we do not have say in what these decisions are. For example, an additional amendment to the state constitution may be put to a vote, but the amendment is given to us the same way those photographs would have been given to the people. In being a passive being, there is a sense of powerlessness that comes with it. Perhaps it is this unwanted sense of powerlessness that drives movements such as the American Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, and this “Occupy” movement. However, society seems to depend on this uneven distribution of power. Is there a such thing as a happy medium in this situation?


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