ACTING Against Oppression; Notes from the other America

Many Latin American countries have weathered many political and social traumas—dictatorships, coups, mass violence, political disruptions, and severe economic disparities. (Sound familiar?) In this mix of undesirable ingredients, theater artists reexamined and reimagined the use of theater to challenge and criticize structures, and to empower those who have been the most oppressed.

We will learn about how different theatermakers from Latin America chose to tackle social/political theater from the ‘60s to the present. (We clearly cannot cover all of the countries or movements, but will note, among others, Peru’s Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, Argentina’s Workshop of Theatrical Investigations, Guillermo Calderón’s work in Chile, and others)

Considerable emphasis will be placed on on Augusto Boal’s seminal “Theater of the Oppressed” — breaking down what has traditionally been considered a well told story or play, identifying how it operates as a tool for an oppressor, and what other options Boal proposes. We will see how theory and application has spread around the globe. Each class will have some time dedicated to improvisations and games in the genre (NO ACTING experience necessary! Almost preferred), as well as readings, analysis and discussion, and watching performances. The class will culminate in a project (script/happening/play) that students will create addressing a social/economic/political issue within a community of their choice.

*Please be aware that we are studying nations that are in great transition and flux. There will be material and history of violence, sexual violence, tactics of oppression and suppression, and other crimes against humanity. It is the goal of the class and the work to enable action and healing against such crimes. Please be aware that the material may be sensitive for some.*




Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM


Vivia Font