First you make sure the scene is properly set
This is the actual forum plays being played out, worked on and developed. Its structure can be outlined as the following:
- A scene is played out by a group of actors. The scene always ends in an unresolved conflict. Traditionally, one character represents ‘the oppressor’, and one (or more) representing ‘the oppressed’. After the scene, the spect-actors are asked whether they agree with the proposed solution (they will most likely not).
- The joker opens the scene to the audience. In this second performance, the audience can stop the play anytime, and ask questions to the actors. The actors must answer as their character.
- During the third performance, the joker invites the audience to present alternative solutions or ways of acting/reacting to the given conflict. They can yell stop at any time, and the spect-actor will be invited to the stage to replace an actor and act out their proposal. The purpose is to try out alternatives to the unresolved situation and create a positive solution to the dilemma.
It is important that the rest of the actors stay in their previous character. (Boal 2002).
The performances of the play can go on forever, as long as the spect-actors have different suggestions they want to try. Remember: No solution is better than another.
The structure of the play provides a room to act out fears, concerns, dreams, hopes, and so on, and enables transformation. With audience participation, individuals are provided with the power to change what they see on the stage and contribute to the scenarios presented. This allows the “. . . spectator to take on the role of Actor and invade the Character and the stage . . . to occupy his own space and offer solutions.” (Boal: 2000). Basically, in trying to bring the “play” to a different end, the cycle of oppression is broken.
Digital forum plays
The prepared or improvised forum theatre scenarios will be played through. The Joker will act as the mediator between the actors and the spect-actors, and will introduce the forum theatre instruments he/she finds necessary (e.g. the speech bubble or interviews). The facilitator should also keep in mind which post activities he plans to implement, e.g., if the intention is to make video speech bubbles, perhaps this feature will take up less of the time during the event itself.
Otherwise, the forum theatre event follows the pattern of a traditional forum event, with playing the scene through several times, without and with questions, and swapping actors.