Brooklyn College Series - Day 1 (1998)

Augusto Boal gives a lecture at Brooklyn College on the Theatre of the Oppressed. He states, “The theatre that I do is to show that every human being uses the same languages as the actor on stage (passion, movements, and costumes depending on the scenery), but the actor has consciousness of it.” He touches on the inevitability of “doing” theater: that in fact once we learn to speak the language of theater, it can be rehearsed in real life in order to “analyze possibilities.” Lastly, in relation to the spectator, Boal argues that spectators should not be passive, but active and transgressive, seeking to interfere and modify the performance that is presented to them. In the second part of the workshop Boal asks groups of five to present images of oppression, with 41 groups participating in total. Once presented, Boal asks if participants identify themselves with the characters in the images. He then asks the groups to participate in an interactive exercise involving movement, stillness, speaking, and silence. “To do is the best way to tell.” The workshop’s final session begins with Boal showing photos of families in other countries, such as Spain, USA, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, and Egypt, while remarking on each country's history. After this exercise, Boal asks the participants to think about what they want to talk or fight about in preparation for the second day of the workshop, in which they will improvise these ideas and themes through a Forum Theatre exercise.

The Brooklyn College series features video material of two full days of workshop with Augusto Boal in 1988. Boal leads general exercises and invites participants to think about how to apply the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in a classroom setting. This video material also includes discussions and exercises on transgression.


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Additional Info

  • Title: Brooklyn College Series Day 1
  • Duration: 04:11:10
  • Language: English
  • Date: 21 Jan 1988
  • Location: Brooklyn College, New York, USA
  • Performers: Aususto Boal, speaker; Harry Kelber, Judy Sigmund, moderators.
  • Type: workshop