Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Forum Scenes: Finding Solutions

In Theater of the Oppressed class today, we started off doing similar activities to yesterday. However, after that we were told to regroup into our groups from yesterday and create more still scenes that related to personal experiences with prejudice or oppression. My group each shared a story in which they felt oppressed or judged and then proceeded to shape the others in the group into parts of the stories- as statues. When we were done, we chose what we thought was the most powerful story and created a short scene, with words, out of it. We worked on this until lunch time.

After lunch, we came back and had a fairly long talk with Professor Lamas about some people feeling unhappy in the class. It was very honest and we found ways to appreciate what we had been doing. I think, as a whole, the class understood why we were doing these silly activities a lot more than we had before. By the end of the day, I was hearing a lot more positivity about the class and everyone seemed to enjoy today's activities.We all shared our short skits, which all had at least one character who was being attacked in some way by someone "of a higher class" than them. The audience, us, then had a chance to jump in as one of the characters (besides the oppressor) and try to fix the situation. We talked and analyzed a lot, which I really enjoyed. Some of the scenes were so powerful, it was amazing. 

My scene featured six characters and was set on a school bus. It started off with the bus driver driving up and five teenage students boarding. Two white males sat in the back and in front of them sat two friends- one of which was a black character and the other white, both male. In front of the bus sat a girl. The two boys in the back began to make racist remarks about the African American character, and even asked him to be their slave. His friend stood us for him but they ended up running away from the situation and the boys remained racist. The girl stayed quiet even though she obviously knew what they were doing was wrong. The "spect-actors" offered different solutions to solve the racism, such as having the bus driver intervene, the girl intervene, the oppressed having a different approach and more. It was really interesting to have gone through this exercise.

After class, some of my friends and I went to dinner and then the gym. After we exercised for a while, we ran across some other girls from our class in the locker room which we hadn't gotten to know very well yet. We ended up talking to them for about an hour and found we had a lot in common! After we cleaned up, we went outside and saw the same two girls talking to Meghna, one of the teaching assistants. We joined them and talked for another hour. It was really deep and even some tears were shed. I really appreciate the level of intelligence and care that the people in this program have. It makes having conversations so much more interesting and personal. Today has been a great day and I'm looking forward to finishing up our "TO" work tomorrow. We are also going back to lectures in the afternoon, which we haven't done in days, so for that I am very excited.

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