Political theater performances in the West Bank

CFP's Tel Aviv-Tulkarm group uses the theatre activities based on Augusto Boal's 'Theatre of the Oppressed'. This is the model which aims to bring change through theatre. The theatre is a non-violent tool that allows Israelis and Palestinians to work together to end the occupation and build a peace based on non-violent principles.

One of the central techniques for the application of 'Theatre of the Oppressed' is the 'Theatre Forum'. The Tel Aviv-Tulkarm group members are the actors, and they perform before an Israeli and Palestinian audience. They take examples of suppression from their own personal experiences, and these are usually familiar to the audience.

An important feature of these performances is that the audience members are active participants and not just observers. Instead of just talking about the other, the theatre allows the audience to step into the shoes of the other.

After the Israeli and Palestinian audience watches the scene, the forum begins. The audience is invited to change the scene by replacing one of the actors. The audience member steps onto the stage, and the scene is replayed. The rest of the characters do not change substantively; rather the newcomer shows how s/he wants to change the situation. After each scene, there is a short discussion.

The performances take place on the ground: in the village or at the road-block. There is full partnership with the Palestinians and Israelis that sit in the audience. The theatre presents an opportunity for non-violent resistance. The theatre is an opportunity for the audience to do a 'switch' and to prepare for the long-awaited change.

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