One of the graduate students, Tim
Mitchell, introduced Guinier and the class to the techniques
of Brazilian director Augusto Boal: image theater and forum theater.
Image Theater: Participants present
images of ideas in silence to the rest of the class.
The use of nonverbal images brings in a visual element that can
||disrupt or highlight existing assumptions
and hierarchies and
||help participants communicate across
disciplinary and other barriers.
Teachers and students play interchangeable
roles: each is a “physical form” that can be molded
by the artist-participant, and each is capable of becoming the
artist-participant and molding the other bodies.
Image Theater has great value in many different
settings because it:
||introduces an alternate form of communication
where language is hardened, overused or even dangerous
||gives participants a new way to control
their “own meaning”
||respects the varying “literacy”
levels and cultural experiences of all participants
||helps to subvert traditional group dynamics
so that no one person dominates the conversation
creates scenes of specific challenges or conflict that an actor
or group of actors must overcome. The audience first views a scene
of a protagonist failing to overcome the challenge. The moderator,
called a “joker” invites audience members to participate
in solving the conflict by standing up and putting themselves
in the scene. Once the audience member intervenes, the joker leads
a discussion of the proposed solution and asks for more solutions.
… more on Forum Theater in a
was the relationship between race, gender and power. It was a
big room with black walls and no windows. He told us to dress
in comfortable clothes. He then played warm-up games to relax
us. He had us gradually create physical images of the word power…
… more on Theater as Pedagogy
Bryonn Bain, a former student, has used many
of the same power sharing techniques to teach a spoken word poetry
class at NYU. Bain uses small groups, concrete exercises requiring
group problem solving and theatre techniques to create learning
communities in which conflict and collaboration are used to fuel
creative expression and foster activism.