Sunday, February 11, 2007

Theater of the Opressed

A concept discussed in my youngest sister's grad class, I am trying it with my seniors tomorrow. The idea is that throughout history, cultures have been without a voice. They cannot speak out in anger, is opposition, in hatred, or even in love. This theater was created to give the "underdogs" a voice, a way to disclose their opinions. Now, 4 decades later, the Theater of the Opressed is used by teachers to engage students in dialogue. In teaching Brave New World, I want my students to understand the satire and to really see how we in our current world all too easily agree with the social and political norm. We stand by without making judgments and without critically thinking about ourselves, our identity, our family, and our beliefs. So tomorrow, we will use this forum to stretch our minds to understand John from the "savage reservation", Linda a transplant from Malpais that has been abondoned on the "reservation"---all in contrast to Bernard and Lenina.

The game, according to the Theater of the Opressed, needs to have clear guidelines. Augusto Boal, Rio de Janeiro 2004 states "The Discipline of our Game is our belief that we that we must re-establish the right of everyone to exist in dignity. We believe that all of us are more, and much better, than what we think we are. We believe in solidarity." How fascinating that the game exists for solidarity and the dystopia that Huxley created is also one of solidarity. How do these 2 ideas contrast? Huxley wants us to hate the idea of solidarity, doesn't he? Or, is there a different message.

See the BNW blog tomorrow to hear the class discussion. I am going to be the scribe while several students are frozen in the middle of the class in positions I create. The rest of the students need to figure out one theme that all these student actions create. I will post the discussion as they discuss their ideas.

Next, we will have a "Hot Seat Discussion"--this is a different version of the fishbowl. I put 5 seats up front with an additional seat at my computer. The computer is projected on the screen behind the students. I give them a question and then students come into the hot seats to discuss their ideas. They can agree, disagree, add to it, etc. The silent seat is the one that students can come add their ideas to the computer. Students in the audience will be able to read the comment and might spark additional comments. I haven't added the hot seat at the computer, so tomorrow will be an interesting trial. Again, you can read the post and comments on the BNW blog.

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