Applied theatre tactics with MR

Applied theatre utilizes MR’s digital materiality to co-create representations of subjects with one another in an educational setting. Such activities align with the current perspective that MR pedagogy is well suited to constructivist tactics (Gifreu-Castells & Moreno, 2014) as part of contextual, discovery- based and experiential learning (Wojciechowski & Cellar)', 2013). Presented in this section are historical workshop tactics from Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal. These tactics are the foundation of the applied theatre lesson plan with MR. Freire provides general guidelines for participant engagement, and Boal’s tactics are focused on the development of games.

Tactics from Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire’s tactics from Pedagogy of the Oppressed address how practitioners should conduct themselves (Freire, 2005). Immediately applicable insights include critical reflection as a form of action, objectifying reality and problem-posing. Each tactic is meant to achieve conscientization. Teachers can use the tactics to help a student move from a naive to a critical consciousness to reflect and act upon a subject. Freire’s teachers were asked only to come with an authentic need within themselves to fight alongside their students. He framed this relationship between educators and their pupils as intersub- jective: the educator as a teacher-student; the pupil as student-teacher.

A dialogic pedagogy in a participatory epistemological mode enables both the teacher and student to identify strengths within one another.

Objectifying reality and problem-posing dialogue

When talking about objectifying reality, Freire is referring to becoming objective regarding one’s perception of reality. He observed that his students believed toxic myths about themselves and their reality. Freire recognized that these myths served those who had power over his students. In order to deconstruct these myths, a participant needs to be able to address them from an objective stance. To achieve this stance, a medium can be used (such as writing, painting or sculpture) to create a material artefact (Freire, 2005). Once materialized, the perspective exists both in and outside the individual. A student can locate themselves concerning the subject matter through the produced artefact (Freire, 2005). From this situated position, with the help of an educator and their peers, they can begin to deconstruct the subject through a problem-posing dialogue.

In a shared MR environment, students and teachers can expand their problem-posing dialogue with digital materiality. Such an approach uses MR’s proven capacity to visualize and spatialize abstract concepts (Sirakaya & Cakmak, 2018). Further, the problems gain a social presence that is shared and felt in the physical space by the students (Fisher, 2019). Students enact the pedagogical tactic of a problem-posing dialogue through MR mediation and participator)' activities. When a classroom of students can recognize abstract subjects and concretize them in MR, they can begin to critique and question them. Within the back-and-forth of dialogue, students may grasp their agency and pursue inquiries that they otherwise would not. Julie A. Delello recognized that AR extends this kind of curious motivation (2014). When working together, this pedagogical practice can help students gain a new sense of reality (Fleck, Simon, & Bastien, 2014; Gifreu-Castells & Moreno, 2014; Rosenbaum, Klopfer, & Perry, 2006).

Tactics from Augusto Boal

Augusto Boal takes Freire’s tactics and modifies them specifically for performance to achieve embodied reflection and the rehearsal of future action. Boal’s repertoire of games for achieving this work is quite extensive."

Tactics for the classroom performance space

Boal sought to create a performance space where opposing ideologies and viewpoints could be interrogated simultaneously through embodied performance. Boal believed that in this state, anything is possible (1993). An aesthetic and didactic space embodies extreme creativity and freedom of expression because of its plasticity. It is where theatre becomes knowledge through student involvement. How participants work through the space to represent reality creates a plenitude of stories that can be explored to create knowledge.

Boal began perfecting his dramaturgical pedagogy with Newspaper Theater (Boal, 1993). Using the newspaper became a valuable way to identify and deconstruct knowledge in society. One of Boal’s first tactics was to find two separate accounts of the same event from different papers. The participants in the scene would then take turns reading the articles sentence by sentence. Their co-created discordant oral text became the material for critical reflection. Activated spectators may ask why a particular newspaper published the story one way while another chose a different perspective. However, others may disagree with both newspaper accounts altogether. The community of learners itself has a story as well: one that may be more valid.

Image and Forum Theater tactics

Boal’s more famous games include Image and Forum Theater.3 For Boal, the use of the word image has two meanings. The first refers to the classic conception of a photograph or painting. A visual representation of an event via a medium, whether it be a Polaroid or a picture via a mobile phone does not matter. The second refers to a different kind of image entirely; the only medium is that of the activated participants’ bodies engaged in various actions to create an image (Boal, 1993, 2002). This meaning of an image is an embodied representation. MR naturally extends this embodied representation (Jang, Wakefield, & Lee, 2017).

The goal of Image Theatre is to invite the spectators to interrogate the polysemy of the created images. Both a photograph and a scene composed of participants are reflective for Boal. Within them, each participant will find or imbue their memories, creativity and emotions to create a representation of a subject. The process of Image Theater is meant to externalize this internalized process of reflection for the group. This divulgence enables participants to identify the perceptions that they do or do not share regarding the subject in the scene. Participants are encouraged to understand the multiplicity of meanings surrounding these images, to engage in a critical reflection around them and expand their openness to new perspectives.

Take, for example, the Image Theatre tactic, Image of Transition. In this activity, participants begin by choosing a scene of oppression to represent. The group then develops the ideal model of the scene in which no one is experiencing oppression. After that, the actors re-enact the oppressive image as individuals. Their peers reflect upon these individual versions to clarify one another’s perspectives on the subject. Through this re-presentation of the scene’s transition from oppressive to freedom from oppression two effects result. First, students develop a pluralist understanding of the situation.

Second, the embodiment of the transition to the ideal becomes a rehearsal for future action (Boal, 1993). The visual, spatial and interactive affordances of MR can be designed to extend the possibilities of this process.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >