Interactive Theater

We offer workshops that teach interactive theater in its various forms.  Read on to learn about the types of theater that Memory War Theater can explore with students at every level.

Interactive Theater: A form of theater that blurs the traditional divide between actors and audience. We use interactive theater as a tool for personal empowerment and social transformation, and as a means to convert passive observation into social action.

Theater of the Oppressed: Theater of the Oppressed (T.O.) is a non-traditional style of theater and community-centered education, which was developed by Brazilian visionary and theatre activist, Augusto Boal. T.O. uses various forms of interactive theater to engage individuals and communities around issues of privilege and oppression. An effective and innovative tool for intrapersonal, social, and political transformation, T.O. creates real-life problematic scenes that are designed to foster dialogue, interaction, and collective problem solving. T.O. is currently being used around the world by teachers, social workers, artists, therapists, and activists.

Forum Theater: Forum Theater, a form of T.O., is an interactive theater workshop in which audience members become active in exploring ways to intervene in potentially contentious situations. This workshop gives you skills to engage in constructive conversations with colleagues, students or anyone surrounding issues of privilege and oppression.

Referred to as “a collective rehearsal for reality,” Forum Theater presents problematic scenes of oppression in which participants are encouraged to intervene and collectively problem-solve. Unlike traditional theater, where there is a distinct and honored separation between audience and actors, T.O., in an effort to erase the divide, introduces the “spect-actor.” Spect-actors, i.e. audience members, are invited to share ideas, explore strategies of intervention, and even act-out on stage their ideas and possible solutions.

Here is how it works:  A scene involving an unresolved situation of oppression is presented in full. In the scene, the Protagonist (oppressed character) is unsuccessful at transforming the oppressive circumstance.  Then, as the same scene is acted out a second time, the spect-actors are invited to stop the scene where they witness an oppression occurring, and intervene – that is, one-by-one spect-actors may replace the Protagonist, and play out their ideas for transforming the oppressive situation into a positive solution. The actors, in the meanwhile, will improvise realistic reactions for each intervention. A facilitator will provide encouragement and guidance, as well as debrief with all participants after each scene.

Forum Theater provides a safe yet realistic space for participants to creatively and collectively explore positive solutions to oppressive situations.

Image Theater: Leaving language behind, participants are encouraged to utilize the visual and kinesthetic to communicate individual perceptions and realities that are often left unspoken. Participants “sculpt” their own bodies and others’ bodies into still images that convey their emotions, perspectives, and experiences in relation to culture, society, oppression, etc. By exploring different images, Image Theater encourages participants to embrace multiple perspectives and ways of being in the world. Augusto Boal described Image Theater as way of “making thought visible.”

Rainbow of Desire: Rainbow of Desire is a family of techniques used to reveal invisible elements of interpersonal relationships, such as conflicting emotions and internalized oppression. Based on the notion that each individual, like a rainbow, embodies multiple hues of color that inform our past, present, and future actions, Rainbow of Desire explores the emotions, thoughts, and desires that hinder as well as help individuals and communities in positive transformation.