24th November 2020
Writing: Rory Collins (Year 12)
Editing: Nathan John (Year 10)
Tuesday was a very exciting day for Year 12 Drama students, as they performed a part of ‘Forum Theatre’ which is a type of theatre created by Augusto Boal to a small, invited audience. The show was the first time since last year they had performed live; incredibly different due to the social distancing put in place, also making rehearsals harder to plan. ‘Forum Theatre’ is a medium of theatre dedicated to conflict and resolution. Actors perform a short piece on a particular conflict or problem, for the Year 12s: LGBT+ zones in Poland, attempting to resolve this problem by themselves. After the performance, the audience makes comments and criticisms on how the problem could have been resolved differently, or add to the arguments giving new points. The group then performs again; improvising and developing their characters to fit the audience’s suggestions.
Boal’s whole philosophy is all about the power of theatre as an art form, promoting critical thinking. He, himself, was a legislator in Brazil, using his plays and workshops to bring up issues in his community - essentially brainstorming ways to fix these with the audience. The goal of the forum is not to tell the audience what the right idea or opinion is; instead to challenge and force them to think for themselves, discussing the issues of today. Theatre is the perfect medium to do this as it feels real and personal as you can see the reality of ideas and the people that uphold them.
The Year 12s original piece took the circumstances in Poland and moved them to the UK, imagining the way a council meeting on how to impose these zones would play out. There was, as 'Forum Theatre' has, disagreement amongst the attendees of the meeting as to whether these zones were justified. This conflict developed with a childhood anecdote, the interject of a third attendee (a police officer) who attempted to keep the disagreement civil, while trying to defend the government’s decisions that he personally disagreed with. This was before a fourth attendee attempted to highlight how stupid the argument was, as neither side was willing to give any ground on their opinion; instead taking up everyone else’s time pointlessly. Following this, the two original attendees compromised quickly.
The audience suggested that the argument had been resolved too quickly - and that some of the arguments lacked depth or personal motivation, the actors restarted their performance. After changing their opening, reasoning and resolution, the performance felt more complete; introducing more depth not only to the characters but to the circumstances around them. The performance explored opinions on homosexuality, the power of government, how said government represents its people and the matter of opinion itself.