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People's Theatre

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:27pm
The first speaker of the day was Sahmil Fattakhov, a Russian film-maker and journalist with background in conflict resolution, who as a host of a TV talk show, began to explore issues of social concern through presenting skits that would escalate around some point of conflict, stop the skit at its climax, and then ask the audience members to suggest solutions to the conflicts. "So, you think the father should do this in this situation. Come on up here, and act out that part for us," and the drama would continue, using the collective wisdom of the audience. The format, which has been adopted in many places in the world, is sometimes referred to as "People's Theater." He tends to pick hot, complex topics that people generally don't talk about... things like a Albanian daughter coming home to tell her parents she's fallen in love and wants to get married... to a Macedonian (this was performed just after the war in Macedonia).


The goals of the "theatre" are sixfold:

  1. To establish the highest moral principle governing the topic.

  2. To clarify the essence of the problem or issue.

  3. To establish the necessity and possibility of its resolution.

  4. To seek to find practical positive ways of resolving the problem by means of consultation.

  5. To share experiences, enrich each other's knowledge and understanding on moral issues, and to use the accumulated wisdom of humanity to do so.

  6. To inspire the audience and to encourage the participation to act in a positive, moral way, to develop their own moral capacities.

I found the whole discussion fascinating. Mr. Fattakhov pointed out that so often, particularly in dilemma facing youth, they take action based on the feeling that "I had no choice" and that the process helps people see that every situation presents choices. Part of his work involves training communities to develop their own "People's Theatre". The five-day training includes instruction on developing skits, choosing topics, and moderating the whole process. I want to explore this a bit more. It sounded like the exact sort of thing we could use in our community. Anyone out there onSaipaninterested in exploring this?
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