Spectators invited to explore a new “forum” of theatre

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By Kelsey Jochum, Entertainment Editor

Sometimes theatre is as much about the audience as it’s about the actors onstage, and on Monday, April 25, the UNO Forum Theatre hopes to demonstrate that.

Theatre and Social Change, a class led by professor Douglas Paterson, uses this unique type of theatre to address controversial issues in today’s society.

“In the 1970s, Brazilian theatre director/theorist Augusto Boal developed a community-based approach to theatre called theatre of the oppressed, or forum theatre,” Paterson said. “Rather than showing the world as an unchanging text, he wanted the oppressed of the world to both make the theatre and then re-make it during performance. “

This changeable theatre was a remarkable movement; it was a way for oppressed people to idenify and create their own change.

The goal of Paterson’s class is to demonstrate this type of theatre and create opportunities for UNO audience members to have a voice in what’s happening on stage. As a final project for the semester, Paterson’s class will hold a forum theatre event on April 25. The event will be free and open to the public.

Senior theatre major Jason Curtis anticipates the event to be both interesting and engaging for those who decide to attend.

“We want to be able to address some of the social injustices in today’s society,” he said. “Having the audience participate is important. Not only do they get to learn about the injustices, but they are the ones who can be motivated to change them. Our forum event may be the first step.”

Monday’s event will also include a legislative session. A body of political figures, including UNO’s Student Body President Liz O’Connor, will be present to push change to the next level.

“The audience members who join us onstage, having seen a performance of oppression, are asked to write down legislation to address the oppression,” Paterson said. “The decision makers then help to organize the ideas. A lawyer will draw this into law which will be read aloud, and the proposed law will be debated and voted on.  If passed, it is presented to the ‘legislators’ as legislation that this community, on this day, representative of their various constituencies, wants written into formal law.”

Monday’s performance will begin at 4 p.m. in the Weber Fine Arts Building, Room 006. UNO students and community members are welcome to attend.

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