The backbone of Boal's work.Participants create, with their bodies, a shape, a statue, in response to an idea or theme. Participants are encouraged to respond quickly to the idea or theme, without 'thinking too much'. The exercise works best in silence. Image Theatre can be done singly, in pairs or in small groups. Images can also be dynamised, and movement and sound- words and sentences- added.Participants are often amazed at what they discover about themselves through Image Theatre.
Breaking mind-body dichotomy, discovering 'secret thoughts'.
A Forum play presents a problem, not a solution. It does not preach. It does not judge. It invites spectators to participate in the performance - not through suggestions, advice or discussion, but by replacing one of the characters in the play, and 'acting' in his/her place- that is, by becoming spect-actors. They are not 'acting' in the sense of 'performing', but simply 'taking action' as they do in real life. Forum is also an opportunity for people to try out strategies that they may not get an opportunity to try in real life- thus it serves as a rehearsal, and with none of the risks of real life action- it's all happening in a play! And yet, it is all so real.
This is an extremely popular form of TO . The whole event is coordinated by an "anchor" who is referred to as the Joker in TO parlance.
Key concept: Power of a community and its collective wisdom, democratic processes, critical thinking.
Cop in the head:
Developed by Boal in response to his changing audience in Europe, and their experiences of "oppression" which were often internalised. Using Image Theatre, this set of exercises helps us unearth the voices we carry inside, our own 'Cops', that push us towards unhealthy choices in moments of crisis or conflict. These exercises, which are felt by participants to be therapeutic in nature, are firmly rooted in theater techniques.
Key concept: Analysis of internal oppressions
The Rainbow of Desire:
Key concept: Individual stories contain universal patterns.
A group of trained actors 'perform' in a public place, without announcing the event. Usually an argument develops between two or more of the actors, a 'problem' situation is created , and onlookers get involved, and a real dialogue takes place on the issue .
Key concept: What do people really feel, think, believe?
When Boal was elected as 'city councilman’, he used varying combinations of all the above techniques to discover what people's issues were and what they really wanted to see as change. This led to the enactment of new legislations - 13 such legislations were created during Boals's political tenure. This form of theater has also been practised in the UK and Canada.
Key concept: Participatory democracy.