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Part of the Middle School Curriculum

Unit Eight: Theatre of the Oppressed

Created by Lindsay Johnson

Students will have a chance to merge their understanding of scene elements with their improvisation skills in this final unit based on Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Theatre of the Oppressed is a style of theatre specifically created to highlight the injustices of power and oppression in society and to problem-solve ways to bring about change.

Starting with image theatre techniques to identify issues of power and oppression, students will then use forum theatre to create scenarios of oppression taken from their own lives and improvise realistic solutions.

The unit culminates in a performance in which students participate as both actors in a scene they create themselves and spect-actors in scenes created by their peers.

Standards Addressed

Overview
The overview lays out the objectives for the unit, outlines all lesson plans, and provides context for the assessment tools.
Additional Attachments
1: Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed
Students will participate in a tableau “Power Handshake” exercise that will give them some basic background experience with image theatre/tableau and nonverbal expressions of relationship and power. They will then work on their critical thinking skills by close reading an article that gives a brief introduction to Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.
Attachments
2: Power Games
Students will participate in a number of power activities that will encourage them to come up with ways to physically demonstrate a powerful/powerless character. A discussion about power in our society will follow.
Attachments
3: Image Theatre, Day 1
Students will be introduced to Boal’s Image Theatre. They will review the concept of tableau (frozen picture) from Lesson 1, and they will be introduced to the tableau rubric and the three tableau skills (frozen bodies, 3+ levels, and character). In small groups, they will create tableaux that capture an image of “Family” (whatever that word means to them).
Attachments
4: Image Theatre, Day 2
Students will review the three tableau skills (frozen bodies, 3+ levels, and character). In small groups, they will analyze the tableaux from last class that captured an image of “Family” (whatever that word meant to them), as well as create and analyze new tableaux around a topical issue in society.
Attachments
5: Image Theatre, Day 3
In groups, students will brainstorm a list of scenarios in which they feel power or oppression in their daily lives. They will then select a scenario from their list and turn it into a tableau.
Attachments
6: Introduction to Forum Theatre
Students will be introduced to forum theatre by researching a video example. Students will then try their hand at forum theatre by acting out a middle school scenario of oppression, becoming spect-actors, and improvising solutions.
Attachments
7: Creating Forum Theatre Scenarios
In groups, students will begin by briefly bringing to life the tableaux from Lesson 5. They will then create the skeleton of a scene for each tableau, indicating the protagonist, antagonist, and method of oppression in each scenario. Finally, students will review their peer’s work and rank the scenes that they are most interested in bringing to life.
Attachments
8: Script Writing for Forum Theatre Scene
Students will take the scene outline created last class and use it to create a more detailed script that includes scene-setting notes, movement notes, and dialogue for the characters. Students will evaluate a peer’s script for errors in grammar or script writing conventions. They will then turn in their scripts for an assessment grade at the end of class.
Attachments
9: Scene Rehearsal and Improv Review
Students will begin by discussing the importance of realistic acting in these scenes, noting how they will be graded on the Realistic Acting Rubric. They will commit their scenes to memory and review projection skills. When the scenes are solid, students will then begin practicing becoming and reacting to spect-actors, and reviewing the Improvisation, Spect-acting, and Realistic Acting Rubrics after each spect-acting attempt.
Attachments
10: Performance Assessment
In this lesson, students will perform their final scene for assessment in front of the class. They will also complete an audience feedback sheet where they give their peers feedback on rubric skills.
Attachments

Standards Addressed

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