THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED IN US PRISONS: EIGHT YEARS OF WORKING WITH ADULT AND YOUTH PRISONERS EXAMINED
Mitchell, Martin III
In this dissertation, I locate my theatre work with prisoners within topics of interest in Performance Studies: examining performativity, troubling the representation of imprisoned bodies, considering the roles of ritual, play and liminality within the location of prison. I examine the limitations and the ethics of working with prisoners, and I have stayed focused on the prisoners' abilities to mediate and perform practical topics of interest to them using the Theatre of the Oppressed methods (such as staying connected to family and re-entry). My dissertation furthers the growing interest in critiquing Boal's techniques and in theorizing how they work and what they can and cannot achieve. For example, I consider the purpose of fetishizing images into icons and symbols in Image Theatre and critique my own use of the "Joker" role as a participant-observer coming in from outside the prison. I also consider the Brechtian heritage of Boal's work in theory and practice, especially in relationship to Brecht's Lehrstuck, and I seek to reconcile modern and postmodern theoretical and practical approaches to understanding performance and critical deliberation using TO work in prisons. This work has ramifications for thinking about visual perception and Image Theatre. It also brings sociolinguistic "positioning theory" into contact with the concept of "restored behavior" through examining the practices of TO's forum theatre. A discourse surrounding the word "respect" and the conception of "prison values" as a social critique defined by prisoners in this research are keynotes to this work.
Ph.D Dissertation in Theatre Studies
Theatre; Prison Studies
dissertation or thesis