I attended the Introduction to Forum Theatre workshops with Mixed Company Theatre on Friday, July19th. It was a two-part workshop series that ran through the entire day. Forum Theatre takes the specific problems of a community and creates a universal story, where all of the participants of that community have a stake in the play which will be created. I was really excited and slightly anxious about attending this workshop since my only acting experience has been in a couple of high school plays.
The fun begun as the games flowed. We got to know each other well, learned about one another and just immersed ourselves to learning about these specific Forum Theatre techniques. The games that we played had a surreal effect on me – I learnt more about myself, my fears and contemplated about my past experiences through different lenses. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Sculpting’ exercise where we were given a theme and we had to feel the emotion and mould the body of our partner into a shape or ‘statue’. Coming from a business background with limited knowledge of theatre, this exercise was particularly enticing because I had to create a piece with non-verbal cues.
How is a Forum theatre play created? A forum theatre play is developed through the use of ‘play’. Carefully selected exercises allowed us to explore the issues discovered amongst the group and with the guidance of Simon Malbogat, Artistic Director of MCT, we presented improvised scenes.
We ended with improv sessions where we transformed from actors to ‘spect-actors’ and learnt how to intervene and analyze the issues presented within each of our scenes. As the day wore down, our energy levels dropped but our Joker made sure that we stayed enthusiastic and not a single minute passed with any diversions from the learning and play. Thank you, Simon!
Want to know more about Forum Theatre? This is a style of theatre which is developed with professional artists or with the community dealing with that particular social/political issue, for example, alcoholism, AIDS, drug abuse, etc. This is a theatrical technique for analyzing and exploring alternatives to systemic power and dynamics within society.