Symbols and power in the theatre of the oppressed

Morelos, Ronaldo (1999) Symbols and power in the theatre of the oppressed. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

Augusto Boal developed Theatre of the Oppressed as a way of using the symbolic language of the dramatic arts in the examination of power relations in both the personal and social contexts. Boal understood that symbolic realities directly influence empirical reality and that drama, as an art form that employs the narrative and the event, serves as a powerful interface between symbols and actuality. In the dramatic process, the creation and the environment from which it emerges are inevitably transformed in the process of enactment. These transformations manifest in the context of power relations - in the context of the receptor's ability to make decisions and to engage in actions, and the communicator's ability to influence the receptor's opinions and behaviour. This thesis will examine two different practices in which symbolic realities have been utilised in the context of human relations of power. Primarily, this thesis examines the theory and practice of Theatre of the Oppressed as it has developed. Additional(v, Theatre of the Oppressed will be examined in comparison with another body of theory and practice - one grounded in the martial and political fields. The similarities and differences between the two practices will be used as a way of elaborating upon the objectives and methods of Theatre of the Oppressed, and as a way of examining the overall practice of 'cultural activism'. This thesis will look at the work of Augusto Boal from 1965 to 1998, and the body of his work known as Theatre of the Oppressed. Also examined will be the work of Edward Geary Lansdale from 1950 to 1983, chiefly his work in the Philippines and Vietnam. One is a theatre worker, a writer, director, theorist and politician. The other retired as a major general in the US Air Force, a renowned intelligence operative and expert. This thesis will argue that they are working in the same field, albeit at different points in spectrums of material resources and ideology. They are both cultural activists. This thesis will examine the way these two practitioners have used the narrative and the event, the myth and the ritual, to colour the canvas of cultures. Cultural activism is the orchestration of narratives and events. Cultural activists work with the symbolic in order to influence the actual.

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ID Code: 35822
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Haseman, Brad
Additional Information: Presented to the Centre for Innovation in the Arts, Queensland University of Technology.
Includes index.
Keywords: Theater Political aspects, Theater and society, thesis, masters, aesthetics, political aspects, Augusto Boal, cultural activism, drama, social aspects, drama in education, Edward Lansdale, human behaviour, persuasive communication, performing arts, philosophy, symbolism in art, power, theatre, Brazil, therapy, theatre and society, theatre of the oppressed, theatre studies, performance studies
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Ronaldo Morelos
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:03
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 01:56

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