The main difference between forum theatre and statue theatre is that statue theatre involves setting up human bodies as statues (immobile scenes without sound), while forum theatre is about role play (with movement and sound). Also, forum theatre requires more time and is more demanding. However, statue theatre may be more difficult to start off with because participants need more creativity and inspiration to create a statue (without movement or sound) about a set topic. Structural violence is usually set as the topic for both these forms of theatre of the oppressed. As for the time needed, 45–60 minutes is optimal to prepare the statue, and the same amount of time is needed to display, analyse and change each of the statues. Here we present an example of statue theatre about “Perpetrator, Bully and Observer” that we use less often. .
Set of Introductory Exercises for the Theatre of the Oppressed
Duration: 20 minutes. Descriptions of the exercises are given here.
Perpetrator, Victim, Observer
Type of exercise: Work in small groups Duration: 25 minutes Materials: Flipchart paper, markers Split into three groups. (You can use one of the creative division methods: see the section on Creative Division into Small Groups or Pairs on p. 259.) Each group is given one of the topics: perpetrator, victim, or observer. The groups are tasked with analysing these roles and preparing wall newspapers around the following questions: ͳ What does the perpetrator/victim/observer look like? (each group deals only with the role they were assigned) ͳ What are their characteristics? ͳ How do they make me feel? ͳ What are the strengths of this role?
- What does the perpetrator/victim/observer look like? (each group deals only with the role they were assigned)
- What are their characteristics?
- How do they make me feel?
- What are the strengths of this role?
Setting the Statues
Duration: 30–45 minutes
The participants remain in the same groups as for the wall newspaper. Each group is tasked with setting up a statue of the victim, perpetrator or observer (the same role they analysed previously).
Display, Analysis and Changes to the Statues
Duration: 225 minutes
Step 1. Display the statue of the perpetrator. The rest of the participants are the audience.
Step 2. The participants from the audience are asked: “What did you see?”
Step 3. The performers clarify what they wanted to show and answer the question: “What was it like playing that role?”
Step4. The performers present the wall newspaper they prepared in the first part of the workshop. (You will need about 40 minutes for steps 1 to 4)
Step 5. Then the next statue is presented, first the one of the victim, and then of the observer, and steps 2 to 4 are repeated.
Step 6. When all the statues have been presented and analysed, possible changes are considered. Theperpetrator statue is displayed again..
Step 7. The audience is asked to think about possible changes that could contribute to reducing violence and to try to replace one of the roles. (Do not replace the roles that are the source of the violence.) The other performers respond to the change and form a statue to accommodate the change and show their response.
Step8. All those on stage are asked: “How did you feel? What happened?” (start from the person whose role was most affected by the change)
Step9. Question for the audience: “What did you notice?”
Step 10. If there are more ideas, do a few more changes. For each change, repeat steps 8 and 9. Step 11. A round of applause for all who participated in the original statue and its changes. Make sure to have a break before
you move on to the next statue.
Step12. Move on to making changes to the other statues – first that of the victim and then the observer. For each statue, go through steps 7 to 11.
Suggested questions for the evaluation:
What was it like? What new questions opened up for you? What did you get out of this exercise?
This exercise can cause powerful emotions. It is important to give the participants an opportunity to come out of their roles. At the very end it can be helpful to do a trust-building exercise or game or a relaxing game. Make sure to check with the participants whether they feel like doing one.