OPPRESSION – a central concepti
Theatre of the Oppressed is theatre and is of the Oppressed. As a theatre method it is an aesthetic expression, positioning itself in the field of Art. Taking the stance of being of the Oppressed, it defines its position and adopts a political posture. Thus, Theatre of the Oppressed presents itself as an artistic expression which has to be constructed and developed through political action. Art and Politics: the Method simultaneously combines these two fields of action and builds its identity on both.
We understand that oppression is structured and based on contexts of social injustice harbouring imbalances of power and opportunity. These injustices and imbalances perpetuate privilege, calcify social conditions, naturalise segregation and reinforce inequalities. This injustice determines who can have access to the right of expression and knowledge and at what price, or to spaces of power and decision-making; the means of production; material, cultural and symbolic goods; or justice and rights as a human being and member of a given society. It privatises collectively-produced riches and socialises the problems resulting from this concentration.
This injustice guarantees advantages to select groups in contrast with disadvantages for groups of oppressed. Oppression refers not only to the use of this advantage but also to its mere existence. Our theatre investigates the mechanisms of oppression and the relations between individuals which belong to and/or represent social groups.
Theatre of the Oppressed’s objective is the identification, aesthetic investigation, artistic representation and collective debate for overcoming situations of oppression. With this in view, it stimulates critical observation of and stance on reality. It aims at creating consciousness and concrete actions.
iSANTOS, Bárbara. Theatre of the Oppressed ROOTS & WINGS a theory of praxis. Los Angeles – USA, KURINGA in conjunction with UCLA Art & Global Health Center and UCLA Prison Education Program, 2019