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they conveyed their sense of urgency about the problem through dramatic posture, with their arms clutching their chests and their eyes popping from their sockets. Others expressed their hypothesis that unsustainable farming was the culprit. One person stood as if surveying a huge swath of farmland. Another sat at the front of a row of stacked chairs as if he was driving a semi truck full of bees to pollinate the fields. Yet another sat with a look of horror on her face while holding a piece of paper with a giant number “1” to signify monoculture. This use of Image Theatre allowed us to unpack the effects this problem has on human beings and the biosphere. It’s not just the image itself but the process that is empowering and transformative. At the end of this session, we held a debriefing. Eco-drama, in all its forms, is designed to help partici-

pants unearth new skills while identifying solutions to problems. They teach participants to take risks, speak out and mobilize one’s peers. Participants also learn how to use alternative modes of decision-making that promote equal participation and respect. Eco-drama teaches many lessons through participatory

engagement. Given that environmental problems can seem so overwhelming to most, it provides a creative outlet for artistic action, and in return, promotes community empow- erment and collective transformation.

blaming one person and talk instead about what you’d like to see happen.” After intervening with their suggestions, the mediators should then indicate the place within a scene, where the skit should resume. Any interrupted scenes should be repeated until there

is a consensus that the scene can come to a close. Try not to spend more than 90 minutes on one skit, as the second group’s skit will need to undergo the same treatment. After the second group’s skit is completed, allow at least 30 min- utes for a debriefing during which participants can voice their opinions on how it went, what could have been done differently, and how it made them feel. This can take time especially in cases where a burning topic has created much dissension. Depending on the type of group, a preliminary study

of the environmental issues and basic mediation skills may need to be addressed prior to undertaking Forum Theatre. (Consult Boal’s Games for Actors and Non-actors in the Resources for more information.)

Image Theatre

Another popular variation of Theatre of the Oppressed, each Image Theatre participant conveys their response to an issue through their bodily posture, position and facial expression. Collectively, they create a still snapshot or image. Image Theatre takes the form of an interpretive, often metaphorical tableau performance that reflects a group’s feelings and ideas. It is particularly effective as a way to represent complex ecological systems. For example, I once had participants watch the PBS documentary, “Silence of the Bees,” and then display their various hypotheses and feelings surrounding the causes of colony collapse disorder. Working in groups,

Dalia Levy, B.A. is a self-employed, eco-drama/art prac- titioner, artisan and urban farmer who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and blogs at www.eartharts.wordpress. com.

Resources Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-actors. New York: Routledge, 2002. Boal, Augusto. Theater of the oppressed. New York: Pluto Press, 1979.

Boal, Augusto. Rainbow of Desire: the Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Cohen-Cruz, Jan. Local acts: community-based performance in the United States. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2005.

Crimens, Paula. Storymaking and Creative Groupwork with Older People. London: J. Kingsley Publishers, 1998.

Duffy, Peter & Vettraino, Elinor eds. Youth and theatre of the oppressed. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Gersie, Alida. Storymaking in Education and Therapy. London: J. Kingsley Publishers, 1990.

Kershaw, Baz. Politics of Performance: Radical Theatre as Cultural Interven- tion. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.

Nicholson, H. Applied Drama: The Gift of Theatre. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Nicholson, H. Theatre & Education. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Owens, Allan. Mapping Drama: Creating, Developing and Evaluating Process Drama. Carlisle: Carel Press, 2001.

Pierce, Alexandra. Expressive Movement: Posture and Action in Daily Life, Sports and the Performing Arts. New York: Plenum Press, 1989.

Prentki, T. and Preston, S. The Applied Theatre Reader. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Schutzman, Mady & Cohen-Cruz, Jan. Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism. London; New York: Routledge, 1994.

Taylor, Phillip. Applied theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2003.

Online Resources <> Eco-drama Company: <>


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