Although Forum Theatre (FT) welcomes diverse perspectives to the stage, practitioners have often remarked that FT performances work best in communities that are in some way “homogeneous.” In this essay, I suggest that homogeneity is a recurrent theme in FT discussions because the structure of FT relies on consensus, and I propose that Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s paradigm of strategic uses of essentialism is a productive tool for understanding and evaluating moments of consensus in FT. Although Spivak eventually critiqued the term, I propose that strategic essentialism can nonetheless provide a useful model for understanding how consensus ideally operates within FT performances. Finally, I offer three provisional criteria with which to evaluate a community's readiness to inclusively reach moments of genuine consensus in FT.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Coulter, Cameron N.
"Strategic Uses of Essentialism in Boal’s Forum Theatre,"
Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal: Vol. 3
, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/ptoj/vol3/iss1/2