Gender Inequality

7th March, 2016 - Posted by Gavin - Comments Off on Gender Inequality

This week Suzanne talks about her work with Shakti Women’s Aid and the contribution that the Theatre of the Oppressed can make to challenging gender inequality:
‘Gender Inequality –
A cause and consequence of Violence Against Women.’            Emma Ritch

“Another world is not only possible,she is on her way.On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”
Arundhati Roy

Today in our session at Shakti,using the ‘this is not a wooden spoon game’ we spontaneously created a detailed scene of the new world we want to live in. In this scene there was harmony between people and with the animals and trees, with Nature. There was abundance for all. Young and old were at ease together. Women, men and children felt relaxed and safe together. There were hammocks, flowers, laughing children, cabbages, onions, sheep and cows. And a tribe of women from girls to crones speaking wisely together, seated by the River Esk at Roslin, to support and help humankind and the Earth to heal.

We all felt energized by this vision. Then we went through to Reception at the end of the session and there were 3 huge silver platters of delicious, free wraps and sandwiches! It didn’t go unnoticed among us that we had contributed to creating this ‘reality’ of abundance by our visualization ‘game.’

In a previous Shakti session the ‘this is not a wooden spoon,it’s a’ game had had a profound effect on one of the women. She told us at a later date that she had used the exercise as a way to create the kind of day she wanted to have. And it helped her to put into perspective what had happened in her abusive marriage. She said she now saw him as ‘just a wooden spoon.’

In  the language of the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), we talk about rehearsing the changes, the challenges to power and to oppression that we would like to bring about.

We act out the visualization.

There are 3 stories from TO lore that I particularly enjoy:

In the film about Boal’s life, he tells the story of a woman who was a maid and came to make TO. She was thrilled that someone wanted to hear her voice. Her story. And she could speak out and be heard by many who wanted to hear what she had to say.

The woman who had suffered from domestic violence and who initiated the whole process of ‘interventions’ in Forum Theatre by, in her frustration, getting up on stage to replace the actor who was supposed to represent her story and was not getting it right.

Boal and his wife Cecilia coming to Europe and realising that oppression is more subtle in Europe and the West, and devising the Rainbow of Desire work to explore and confront in Marxist terms ‘false consciousness,’ internalized oppression, ‘cops in the head.’

So how do we in our sessions at Shakti explore, present and challenge the complex, extreme and subtle oppression of domestic violence?

Our small, steady, intense Shakti Drama Group has the next two years together to work on this.

Posted on: March 7, 2016

Filed under: News

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