Rehearsals for Change

George Emilio Sanchez

This workshop integrates theater games and exercises from Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed with writing and drawing. Our critical aim is to nurture and develop trust among the participants. First, trust within our physical body, the five senses, our emotional landscape, and the reach of the imagination. Secondly, nurturing trust among the participants in building a collective identity. The deeper we can trust ourselves, the greater we can trust each other and the group.

We begin with an in-depth dive into the foundational trust exercises taken from Boal’s Games for Actors and Non-Actors. Boal’s Image Theater helps us create images around key words and themes with the aim of re-defining how individual and societal power inform and guide our experiences. We use objects, and eventually also our bodies, to create images of power. The workshop culminates in exercises from Boal’s Rainbow of Desire, where we create living images and sculptures with our bodies to define and express how oppression looks and feels and how it can be repaired. In free-writing exercises participants are asked to write about their names. We then work in dyads and engage in one-to-one interviews regarding our background as a way to build bridges between us.

Workshop participants work in an interactive, experiential mode that brings people together. A critical element of the workshop is the conversations and questions that we share together as we process our process. Intentionality and accountability become community norms to guide the creative circle we forge in community.

Header and slideshow images by Desiree Rios