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Theater of the oppressed and its application in Turkey

Ebru Gokdag, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation analyzes the contributions of Augusto Boal to the theory and practice of contemporary theatre. Presenting the political nature of Boal's theories I will focus on the practical applications of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed in Turkey in an effort to understand if Theatre of the Oppressed in its purest form can be a collective tool for the Turkish people for cultural and political interventions. ^ This dissertation consists of two parts. The first part is the contribution and analysis of Augusto Boal's theories to the contemporary theatre. The second part is application of Theatre of the Oppressed in Turkey and its results. ^ Chapter one, “The Master: Augusto Boal,” recounts Boal's life in three stages as it thus far evolved. Chapter two examines how Theatre of the Oppressed methods were formed and presents the workings of these methods. Chapter three examines Aristotle, Bertold Brecht, and Paulo Freire, and their influences on the poetics of Theatre of the Oppressed as it tries to bridge these theoreticians affect on the process of achieving Theatre of the Oppressed by showing Boal's deconstruction of Western theatre, experimentations on creating critical audiences and finally handing the means of production to people themselves. The final chapter reports my attempts at applying Theatre of the Oppressed methods in Turkey. ^ This dissertation documents the beginning of a process in Turkey that has a great potential. During the limited time I had in Turkey, Theatre of the Oppressed was effective at the micro level. My practice of Theatre of the Oppressed in Turkey was very empowering both for the participants, and me. My work at the Anadolu University Theatre conservatory shows that Theatre Arts departments in Turkey will be using Boal's methods in the future. I can assert here that the success of Theatre of the Oppressed as practiced for resistance in the macro level in Turkey depends on its ability to challenge or change Turkish people's understanding of ‘theatre’ in the traditional Western sense. ^

Subject Area

History, Middle Eastern|Fine Arts|Theater

Recommended Citation

Gokdag, Ebru, "Theater of the oppressed and its application in Turkey" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055272.