By Emma Durden (auth.), Dennis A. Francis (eds.)
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Extra resources for Acting on HIV: Using Drama to Create Possibilities for Change
Taking part from ‘the outside’ tends to distance the experience and the effect is limited compared to the actor-educators who are in the performance and engaging with very real human emotions. However, through role, participants create and maintain dramatic worlds (O’Neill 1995: 69) that can reflect on to the spectators. These dramatic worlds create conducive environments for spectators to interact in time and space to find out answers to their challenges. Although the spectators at this level will not be playing the roles of characters in the play, the mere fact that a play has been presented before them allows them to be involved at a certain level.
The sharing of ideas in response to a presented stimulus is a characteristic of FT and the goal is not necessarily to find the correct solution but rather to explore and rehearse a multiplicity of possible solutions as Boal points out: … the most important effect of Forum Theatre is not the solutions that it can find at the end, but the process of thinking. Because what I believe is that in the normal theater, there is a paralysis: the spectator paralyzes his power of action and he is suffering the empathy of the character and, for some time, he’s only answering.
Through asking questions the spectators will be trying to understand the protagonist or antagonist, to be in the shoes of the other, so that they can understand the other. Also through their questions the spectators will be trying to invoke the protagonist or antagonist to take a look at themselves in relation to the action and position they would have taken in the play. The principal, in “Acceptance”, for example, may be challenged by an audience member to support the rights of gays and lesbians.