This is a way of highlighting the most important moment in a scene in order to draw the audience’s attention to its significance. There are various ways of marking the moment:
Marking the moment is useful in rehearsal as it helps actors consider the most important moments communicated within a scene and ensures their impact is not lost upon the audience.
Forum theatre was developed by a Brazilian theatre maker called Augusto Boal. It’s a very useful tool for exploring drama during the rehearsal process. Company members become ‘spect-actors’ rather than spectators. This means that while watching work they can stop it and take the place of an existing performer to try out a new idea. Sharing ideas in this improvised practical way can provide fresh insight into a role and stop the drama from becoming stale.
A facilitator (usually known as the Joker) is needed to manage communication between the players and the audience. This strategy breaks through the barrier between performers and audience, making them equal. It also enables participants to try out courses of action which could be applicable to their everyday lives. Originally the technique was developed by Boal as a political tool for change (part of the Theatre of the Oppressed), but it’s often used in drama work.
You could use Forum theatre as an explorative technique while acting out a scene in rehearsal. It’s particularly useful when you’re working without a director to guide you. Sometimes it’s hard, when devising drama, to imagine what a character might do or say at a particular moment. If you stop the drama when in role, and ask for help from your group, someone will probably give you a good idea of what to do or say next. They might also offer to take over the role to try out their idea or even join the scene as another character altogether, to take things in a new direction.
This clip shows how Forum theatre techniques can be used in rehearsal. Cardboard Citizens, a company that works with homeless performers, rehearse a scene in various ways trying out a range of extreme emotions. This is based on an Augusto Boal technique. Note how the actors’ physicality changes depending on their different emotions.
Answer the question then check your response against the sample answer.
How would you use cross-cutting and still image to create an effective sequence of scenes about a teenager who’s hiding the fact that she’s playing truant from school from her mother?