Theatre of the Oppressed

Last Friday we did a Theatre of the Oppressed performance at the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center’s Parent Leadership Conference. In our session we presented three scenarios in which someone was being oppressed, then invited audience members  to come up and take the place of the oppressed person and demonstrate how that person could overcome the oppression.

The beauty of this exercise is that the audience members, not the presenters, do the teaching, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will accept and remember what they learned. We presented three scenarios: A tenant trying to get an apartment manager to replace a lightbulb in the hall; A parent reporting her child was being bullied; and, An IEP meeting where the professionals ignored the parent’s input.

Here are some of the conclusions the audience members discovered at the session:

  • The goal is not for the oppressed to become the oppressor;
  • Information is a valuable asset in overcoming oppression;
  • You should allow the oppressor an opportunity to solve the problem;
  • It helps to “humanize” the oppressor. (Acknowledge that the oppressor has problems as well.)
  • Sometimes you can overcome oppression by offering to help solve the problem and work with the oppressor.

As performers, we welcomed the applause when the session was over, but our greater satisfaction was in the knowledge that our audience left the session with useful information.




Double Punday

I was attending the Kansas Public Health Association’s annual conference, and didn’t find time to post a pun yesterday. I’ll make up for it today by doubling your punishment. First a short one: Women, support the second amendment. Wear sleeveless blouses. Protect your right to bare arms.

And a somewhat longer one involves Rudolph Ivanovitch Orloff, a minor official in the Communist Party during the early days of the Soviet Union. One morning he awoke to the sound of pitter-patter on the roof. He turned to you wife, Ivana, and said, “Listen to the rain.” Ivana listened for a moment and replied, “You know dear, I don’t think that is rain, it sounds more like snow to me.” “No!” said Rudolph, “I’m quite sure it’s rain.” Ivana was adamant. “Snow!” She shouted. “Rain!” Rudolph replied. The argument became quite heated until Rudolph shouted. “Don’t argue with me. I say it’s rain, and Rudolph, the red, knows rain dear.”

Today is a big day for Laugh2Learn. I worked with the board of the Lawrence Education Achievement Partners (LEAP) to create an exciting an innovative program for their LEAP Summit, and today is the day! We anticipate that all of the participants will leave the Summit with specific plans to find new ways for businesses and schools to partner. The summit will be in the Leid Center’s new education complex, and we are thrilled to be one of the first community organizations to use it.

I plan to have a videographer there, and with any luck I will be able to post some video here soon.

Next week we change gears somewhat as we perform a Theatre of the Oppressed session for the Kansas Head Start Association’s Parent Leadership Conference.

Versatility is the word of the week.

By the way, do you like the puns? If you do please let me know. Puns, I am told, are the lowest form of humor. I’ve also heard that the reason we groan when we hear one is because we wish we had thought of it first. I honestly don’t know, but they make me laugh, and laugh is my first name.