Tuesday, May 12, 2009



All human societies are “spectacular*” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments. They are “spectacular” as a form of social organization and produce “spectacles” like the one you have come to see.

Even if one is unaware of it, human relationships are structured in a theatrical way. The use of space, body language, choice of words and voice modulation, the confrontation of ideas and passions, everything that we demonstrate on the stage, we live in our lives. We are theatre!

Weddings and funerals are “spectacles”, but so, also, are daily rituals so familiar that we are not conscious of this. Occasions of pomp and circumstance, but also the morning coffee, the exchanged good-mornings, timid love and storms of passion, a senate session or a diplomatic meeting - all is theatre.

One of the main functions of our art is to make people sensitive to the “spectacles” of daily life in which the actors are their own spectators, performances in which the stage and the stalls coincide. We are all artists. By doing theatre, we learn to see what is obvious but what we usually can’t see because we are only used to looking at it. What is familiar to us becomes unseen: doing theatre throws light on the stage of daily life.

Last September, we were surprised by a theatrical revelation: we, who thought that we were living in a safe world, despite wars, genocide, slaughter and torture which certainly exist, but far from us in remote and wild places. We, who were living in security with our money invested in some respectable bank or in some honest trader’s hands in the stock exchange were told that this money did not exist, that it was virtual, a fictitious invention by some economists who were not fictitious at all and neither reliable nor respectable. Everything was just bad theatre, a dark plot in which a few people won a lot and many people lost all. Some politicians from rich countries held secret meetings in which they found some magic solutions. And we, the victims of their decisions, have remained spectators in the last row of the balcony.

Twenty years ago, I staged Racine’s Phèdre in Rio de Janeiro. The stage setting was poor: cow skins on the ground, bamboos around. Before each presentation, I used to say to my actors: “The fiction we created day by day is over. When you cross those bamboos, none of you will have the right to lie. Theatre is the Hidden Truth”.

When we look beyond appearances, we see oppressors and oppressed people, in all societies, ethnic groups, genders, social classes and casts; we see an unfair and cruel world. We have to create another world because we know it is possible. But it is up to us to build this other world with our hands and by acting on the stage and in our own life.

Participate in the “spectacle” which is about to begin and once you are back home, with your friends act your own plays and look at what you were never able to see: that which is obvious. Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!

We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.

Augusto Boal(Original Portuguese)

* means also having the nature of a spectacle or show (note of the translator)




Thursday, May 07, 2009


Dear friends, colleagues, fellow militants and activists,

Augusto Boal, one of the most valiant people of his times, has - as a friend of ours said - become one of our ancestors. He has fought until the very last moment to keep his spirit alive, just as he has fought against oppression for so many decades. "I won't be dead unless people forget" says a song. In Augusto's case, this means he will live forever. For the most, he will live in the spirit of those who work with the Theatre of the Oppressed, which he introduced and expanded every time, and usually ahead of his time. We are only beginning to understand what power lies in Theatre of the Oppressed and how it can deeply affect global society. We are only beginning to understand what Augusto Boal has created, but we can only come to understand it by using his creation in practice. By continuing the work he did, we can sincerely commemorate his achievements. We hope this message is resounded across the globe.

Many of you have already reacted to Augusto Boal's death by sending emails to ITO or to other websites. We decided to create a space on http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org/ where anyone can leave a condolence message to us all or to someone in particular. This condolence registry can be accessed through http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org/en/index.php?nodeID=233&action=new, the messages can be read through http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org/en/index.php?nodeID=233.

The ITO website will update you on the latest developments on the planned Memorial Day activities. Please check http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org/en/index.php?nodeID=13&id=3&id=419 regularly if urgent messages are issued, you will be informed through this mailing list.

Although we are filled with sadness, we believe we should take up whatever strength we have and increase the intensity of the work we are doing. The best way to remember Boal is to remember his fighting spirit. To look for peace, not passivity and to have the courage to be happy.

In solidarity,

Thirdeye Salutes Boal

Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal diesMay 2, 2009 - 7:51pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Augusto Boal, the Brazilian theater director andplaywright known for the interactive genre called the "Theater of theOppressed," died Saturday. He was 78.

Boal died of respiratory failure following a long battle withleukemia, according to Elisa Nunes, a spokeswoman for Rio's HospitalSamaritano.

Boal, who studied theater arts at New York City's Columbia University,created Theater of the Oppressed in the early 1960s as a way toestablish a dialogue between audience, playwright, director and actorsthat encouraged political activism.
Seen as a threat to the dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964and 1985, Boal was arrested, jailed and tortured before being exiledto Argentina.

He returned to Brazil after the fall of the military regime.