The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)

 

 Fall 2011 Events

All workshops take place at

 The Brecht Forum

 451 West Street (West Side Highway, at Bank Street,  one block north of West Eleventh Street)

 New York City

 

 Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

 An Introduction to the Theater of the Oppressed: A Mini-Workshop

 facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher

 This mini-workshop, designed for people who have been curious about  the Theater of the Oppressed (TO) but have not been able to commit to a full weekend workshop, will present an overview of the basic exercises, methods and techniques of TO work. The workshop is open to all, and no theater or drama experience is required. If you've been wondering what this work is all about now is the time to find out!

 

 Marie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1989) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely  with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced TO practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala and Cuba.

 

 Tuition–sliding scale: $30/$40/$50

 

 Register online at

http:/brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12016&reset=1

 

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Sunday, September 25 at 5:00 pm

Dead Birds or Avian Blues

a book party, reading and performance featuring Howard Pflanzer, El Tahra Ibrahim and Robert Roth

Howard Pflanzer, introduced by Robert Roth, will read/perform with El Tahra Ibrahim from his new book, Dead Birds or Avian Blues, celebrating the birds and animals commenting on the human condition in edgy short plays and poems with surreal illustrations by Juliane Pieper.

 

 Howard Pflanzer is a playwright and poet. His plays and musicals have been performed at LaMaMa ETC, Playwrights Horizons, Symphony Space, Medicine Show Theatre (Living with History: Camus, Sartre, De

 Beauvoir), Kraine Theater (Cocaine Dreams) and The Living Theatre and broadcast over WNYC and WBAI FM. He has received fellowships and commissioning grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, ASCAP, the Puffin Foundation, the NEA (Media Arts co-winner), the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, as well as a Fulbright Scholar award to conduct theatre workshops and direct in India. His poems, plays and commentaries have appeared in many hard copy publications and online.

 

 El Tahra Ibrahim recently returned to NYC from New Orleans, where she worked as a performing artist and teacher. She has appeared locally and internationally on numerous stages as a dancer/singer/actor, most notably in Cats, Crazy for You, Narcisuss Rising (Eleo Pomare), Tilt (George Faison) among many other projects. Most recently she released a Tribute to 9/11 music video with her producer Billy Grey and is teacher/ manager for 'Uptown Kidz Dance Company'.

 

 Robert Roth, author of Health Proxy, co-creator of And Then, loves watching dead birds fly.

 

 Admission–sliding scale: $6/$10/$15

 Reserve online at

http:/brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=11960&reset=1

 

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 Saturday, October 15 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

 

The Politics of the Theater of the Oppressed

facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher

 

This workshop is an outgrowth of a collaboration and some recent conversations that took place between Julian Boal, TOPLAB facilitator Marie-Claire Picher and other members of TOPLAB. When it first originated in Brazil in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Theater of the Oppressed (TO) was a political and theatrical project that sought to work with oppressed people and communities toward their own self

> emancipation and to change society and abolish the class structure that is the underpinning of capitalism. Today, a good amount of the radical political thrust and focus that motivated and informed TO as it was originally conceived and formulated is lost in much of its current practice. This workshop will attempt to return to the political, pedagogical and theatrical roots that are central to the theory and praxis of Theater of the Oppressed. With the surging popularity of "reality TV" and "interactive art" produced by corporate edict, the accelerated commodification of culture and its ongoing recuperation by capital, once-genuine participation in daily social life has too often become nothing more than a fashionable, radically-chic presentation (and consumption) of culture; in the case of TO, such presentation compromises the radical sensibility that is at its core and turns it into a poorly-disguised form of interactive manipulation.

 

 Marie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1989) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced

 TO practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala

 and Cuba.

 Tuition–sliding scale: $50/$60/$75

 Register online at

http:/brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12017&reset=1

 

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Friday, October 28, Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30 (times TBA)

 

Forum Theater presentations

 

Presentations of Forum Theater pieces created and presented some NYC-based organizations that have partnered with TOPLAB. More information to come later.

 ***

 Sunday, November 6 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm

 Heal the Healer: A Holistic workshop

 facilitated by Kira Laura Ferrand

 Our inability to adapt to stress causes hypertension, ulcers, gastric  disorders, sleep and sexual dysfunction, anxiety, and both endocrine and general central nervous system overload.

 

 The Heal the Healer PLaYlab offers a grab bag of time-efficient techniques that emphasize self-care, particularly around stress management and burnout. The PLaYlab means just that–an opportunity to spend a few hours experimenting in a safe environment to transform tension into serenity. We can't always remove the stressors in our lives, but we can titrate our reactions to them. We are all caregivers, but often we lose sight of the need for self-care. This PLaYlab offers motivational encouragement, practical and quick interventions, gleaned from Reiki, Cranio-Sacral, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, Theater of the Oppressed, Applied Kinesiology, Yoga and Meditative techniques, to mention just a few. We offer  5-second meditations for the avowed non-meditator; pranayama or yogic breathing cleansings; and other quick transformational techniques for those of us on the fast track. Go to Health! designs these interactive sessions around the needs of the participants.

 

 Kira-Laura Ferrand, has been in private practice as an Applied Kinesiologist for over thirty years. She practices in New York, California, Istanbul and Rome. She works with cancer patients and others of all ages on issues that range from pre- and post-partum to fascia and misalignment. She is the founder of Go to Health!, a soon-to-be traveling holistic clinic and on-the-road medicine show.

 

 (Note: For this workshop participants should wear comfortable clothes, since physical movement is involved. Also, each workshop member is asked to bring a large towel or yoga mat, and also a vegetarian snack big enough to share with one other person.)

 

 Tuition–sliding scale: $30/$40/$50

 Register online at

http:/brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12018&reset=1

 

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Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm both days

 

 Forum Theater: A Two-day Workshop

facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher

 

 This weekend workshop focuses on exercises, games, and improvised scene work from the Theater of the Oppressed repertory developed by Brazilian director, popular educator and Workers Party activist Augusto Boal. Boal's interactive approach to theatrical expression emphasizes physical dialogues, non-verbal imagery, consensus-building and problem-solving processes, and techniques for developing awareness of both external and internalized forms of oppression.

 

 An innovative approach to public forums, Forum Theater is rooted in the Brazilian popular education and culture movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is designed for use in schools, community centers, trade unions, and political, solidarity and grassroots organizations. It is especially useful as an organizing tool in protest movements. Workshop participants (the actors) are asked to tell a story, taken from daily

 life, containing a political or social problem of difficult solution.

 

A skit presenting that problem is improvised and presented. The original solution proposed by the protagonist must contain at least one social or political error. When the skit is over, the audience discusses the proposed solution, and then the scene is performed once more. But now, audience members are urged to intervene by stopping the action, coming on stage to replace actors, and enacting their own ideas. Thus, instead of remaining passive, the audience becomes active "spect-actors" who now create alternative solutions and control the dramatic action. The aim of the forum is not to find an ideal solution, but to invent new ways of confronting oppression. In Brazil and other parts of Latin America, as well as in India and Africa, Forum Theater has been used with peasant and worker "audiences" as training in labor and community organizing and participatory democracy.

 

 Marie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1989) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced

 TO practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala

 and Cuba.

 This workshop is open to all and no prior theater experience is necessary to participate. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

 

 Note: Participants must commit to attending both sessions in their entirety. During Theater of the Oppressed workshops a process develops among the members and when people arrive late, leave early or fail to return to the next session that process is compromised. If you think you will not be able to attend the whole workshop please consider enrolling in a future workshop when your schedule will allow you to attend for its complete duration.

 

 Tuition–sliding scale: $95/$125/$150

 Register online at

http://brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12019&reset=1

 ***

 Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11 from 10:00 am to 6:00pm both days

 Image Theater: A Two-day Workshop

 facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher

 Image Theater, part of the repertory of Theater of the Oppressed, was created by the late Brazilian director and cultural activist Augusto  Boal (1931-2009). Drawing on the theories of popular education developed by his friend and colleague Paulo Freire, Boal appropriated theater games and exercises for use as organizing tools by communities in struggle. These tools are designed to develop individual skills of observation and self-reflection, and cooperative group interactions. Image Theater is the ideal starting point for training in Theater of the Oppressed techniques. In Image Theater, leadership- and consensus-building games and techniques are used to explore relations of power and group solutions to concrete problems of oppression through "living body imagery". Discussions begin to take place through the language of images, offering a fresh approach to power analysis and new opportunities for the exchange of ideas.

 

 Ma
rie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1989) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced TO practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala and Cuba.

 

 This workshop is open to all and no prior theater experience is necessary to participate. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Note: Participants must commit to attending both sessions in their entirety. During Theater of the Oppressed workshops a process develops among the members and when people arrive late, leave early or fail to return to the next session that process is compromised. If you think you will not be able to attend the whole workshop please consider enrolling in a future workshop when your schedule will allow you to attend for its complete duration.

 

 Sliding scale: $95/$125/$150

 Register online at

http://brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12020&reset=1