Gledališče zatiranih je metoda, ki se uporablja v gledališko-aktivistične, pedagoške in izobraževalne namene, kot orodje za doseganje socialne pravičnosti, lahko pa ima tudi terapevtske učinke. Začetke, ki segajo v šestdeseta leta 20. stoletja v Brazilijo, se pripisuje režiserju, politiku in piscu Augustu Boalu, čeprav so se različne tehnike te metode kasneje razširile v skoraj sto različnih držav po vsem svetu. Prve izoblikovane tehnike gledališča zatiranih so bile časopisno gledališče, forumsko gledališčenevidno gledališče in slikovno gledališče. V Evropi in Severni Ameriki se je pokazala potreba po tehnikah osredotočenih na razreševanje in obravnavanje osebnih in ponotranjenih zatiranosti, imenovanih mavrica želja in policaji v glavi. Temu je sledila nadgradnja tehnik, ki posega v spreminjanje zakonodaje, imenovana zakonodajno gledališče. Gledališče zatiranih predstavlja prostor, v katerem se govori o temah, ki niso izpostavljene, in kjer spregovorijo tisti, ki mnogokrat nimajo glasu. Tako demokratizira gledališče in ga daje v roke vsakomur – kot je to bilo v samih začetkih gledališča, ko je gledališče predstavljalo prostor svobodnega petja na prostem od ljudi in za ljudi. Tako tudi tematike za uprizarjanje izhajajo iz in od ljudi. Omogoča načine, preko katerih se razjasnjuje vprašanja in raziskuje poti za boj proti neenakostim, diskriminaciji, rasizmu, krivicam in drugim problemom zatiranosti, ki morda na prvi pogled niso povsem vidni ali očitni. Osnovni koncept gledališča zatiranih je moč, preko katere metoda raziskuje, obravnava in izpostavlja razmerja moči med zatiralcem in zatiranim. Kdaj, kako in kje zatiralec zlorablja moč v namene izkoriščanja in zatiranja Drugega, zatiranega, ki te moči nima ali mu je odvzeta. S tem namenom gledališče zatiranih tudi ruši in briše konvencionalne pozicije moči med (aktivnimi) igralci in (pasivnimi) gledalci, ko vzpostavlja prostor za dialog med njimi in jih postavi v novo pozicijo aktivno sodelujočih gled-igralcev (gledalcev in igralcev v enem).

Časopisno gledališče sestavlja več pristopov, kot na primer enostavno branje, ritmično branje, navzkrižno branje, dopolnjujoče/komplementarno branje, vzporedna akcija, improvizacija, zgodovinsko branje, opolnomočenje, konkretizacija abstraktnega, besedilo izven konteksta … Namen tehnike je preoblikovati in spreminjati dnevne novice, časopise, raznolike članke, politične govore, državno ustavo, deklaracije človekovih pravic, odlomke iz Biblije in drug ne-dramski material v gledališke prizore. S postavljanjem vprašanj ‘Kaj je v člankih izpostavljeno in kaj prikrito? Kaj je v naslovu in kaj je prikazano na fotografijah? Komu so novice namenjene?’ časopisno gledališče opozarja na neobjektivnost medijev ter njihovo moč, ki je v rokah dominantnega razreda.

Nevidno gledališče je tehnika, ki neposredno posega in intervenira v družbo z določeno problematiko z namenom spodbujanja diskusije, stimulativnega javnega dialoga, ozaveščenosti o izpostavljenem problemu ter postavljanja vprašanj v javnem prostoru. Gledalke v nevidnem gledališču so naključne mimoidoče, ki so transformirane v protagonistke uprizorjene akcije – gled-igralke, ne da bi se zavedale, da so del vnaprej planiranega in zrežiranega ter ne povsem improviziranega performansa, saj le ta deluje kot popolnoma vsakdanja situacija. Zgolj izvajalke vedo, da gre za v naprej pripravljeno in zrežirano igro. V nevidnem gledališču se nikoli ne prikazuje nasilnih scen, saj je namen tehnike razrešiti nasilje, ki obstaja v družbi in ne reproduciranje le tega. Namen tehnike je, da udeležene gled-igralke po izvedenem performansu razmišljanje o problematiki nadaljujejo kasneje doma ali v družbi prijateljev in na ta način neposredno nadaljujejo diskusijo o obravnavanem problemu.

Forumsko gledališče je tehnika, kjer igralci odigrajo kratek prizor, v katerem je prikazan prizor zatiranja. Tehnika sloni na improvizaciji gled-igralcev. Po prvi uprizoritvi prizora ali več njih sledijo ponovitve z intervencijami, ko gled-igralci odigrajo svoje predloge za soočanje s situacijo in jo fizično pokažejo na odru. Temu sledi diskusija s širšo publiko o resničnosti intervencije in realni možnosti predlagane situacije, prizor pa se ponavlja večkrat z različnimi intervencijami. V forumskem gledališču most in kontakt med gledalci in igralci vzpostavlja moderator – joker, ki gled-igralce spodbuja k aktivni udeležbi, direktni akciji, diskusiji in premisleku. V tej tehniki se z gledališkim orodjem obravnava možnosti za družbene spremembe – gre za refleksijo realnosti in vajo za akcijo v prihodnje v situacijah v življenju.

Slikovno gledališče je serija tehnik, ki se jih pogosto uporablja v predpripravah na druge tehnike v okviru katerih udeleženke brez govora in besed, temveč zgolj skozi podobe in prostor utelesijo svoja čustva in izkušnje. Igralke se izrazijo z ‘zamrznjenimi slikami’, s pozornostjo na pozicioniranju telesa, zamrznjenih gibov, mimike ter izraza na obrazu. Prav tako v času samega oblikovanja besede niso dovoljene – ‘kiparka’ oblikuje kipe s premikanjem delov telesa drugih udeležencev ali da sama pokaže kip, ki se ga nato čim bolj identično preslika. Slike so kasneje dinamizirane, ko se pričnejo premikati in izgovarjati ključne besede ali stavke.

Mavrica želja je naziv za kolekcijo petnajstih gledaliških tehnik, ki pomagajo pri vizualizaciji osebnih, ponotranjenih zatiranosti in strahov ter posega v Boalov terapevtski repertoar vaj. Tako kot si druge tehnike gledališča zatiranih prizadevajo demokratizirati gledališče, tehnika mavrica želja teži k demokratizaciji terapije. Pri njej ‘pacient’ ni pasiven prejemnik terapije, ampak režira svoj terapevtski proces v soudeležbi drugih sodelujočih v procesu, ki omogočajo novo in večdimenzionalno branje preteklih dogodkov. V primeru mavrice želja ne gre za interpretacijo dogodka. So-udeleženci v procesu protagonistu ponudijo ogledala kot več načinov odzivov na situacijo.

Estetika gledališča zatiranih je izraz, ki ga je Augusto Boal uporabljal za celo paleto kulturnih in umetniških dejavnosti, ki jih skupnosti razvijejo za izzivanje, upiranje in transformiranje zatiranja. Kot nadgradnja izhodišč gledališča zatiranih in pedagogike zatiranih estetika obnavlja moč umetnosti in gledališča za “osvobajanje tako zatiralke kot zatirane”, kar nam prek ustvarjalnosti, umetnosti, dialoga in izobraževanja “povrne najglobljo človečnost”. Predstavlja raznolike pristope in tehnike, ki se združijo z željo po estetizaciji prizorov zatiranja. Proces raziskovanja poteka preko pisanja pesmi, pisem, osebnih refleksij, ki se nato upodobijo na raznolike načine – s slikanjem, fotografiranjem (fotografija zatiranih), preko plesa, glasbe, inštalacij ipd.

Zakonodajno gledališče je kot samostojna tehnika nastalo v času Boalovega mandata kot mestnega svetnika v Riu de Janeiru (1993/1997).  Predstavlja obliko demokracije z uporabo forumskega gledališča, ki se ga kombinira s konvencionalnimi rituali parlamentarne zbornice z namenom spreminjanja legitimnih želja državljanov v zakone. Po forumski predstavi se ustvari prostor podoben senatu za podoben obred sprejemanja zakonov, po istem uradnem postopku, ki temelji na posegih gled-igralcev (ti jih zagovarjajo ali zavračajo, glasujejo ipd.). Na koncu se zbere odobrene predloge in prizadevanja ter se jih poskusi predlagati zakonodajalcem v odobritev. S pomočjo tehnike zakonodajnega gledališča je z Boal z vključevanjem predlogov ljudi spremenil kar 20 zakonov. Verjel je, da so prebivalci tisti, ki bi morali odločati o družbenih vprašanjih, ne pa vladajoča elita. 

Theatre of the Oppressed is a widely used method – for theatre based activism, pedagogical and educational purposes, also as a tool for promoting social justice, but it can also have therapeutic effects. Its beginning dates to the 60s of the 20th century and is attributed to Brazilian director, writer and politician Augusto Boal, although its various techniques have later on spread across almost hundred different countries all over the world. Among its first techniques were Newspaper Theatre, Forum Theatre, Invisible Theatre and Image Theatre. With Europe and North America displaying a need for techniques that would focus on addressing and solving more personal and internalised types of oppression, two new techniques were developed, i.e. Rainbow of Desire and Cops in the Head. Later on an upgrade to the existing techniques emerged and Legislative Theatre was developed. Theatre of the Oppressed represents a place to talk about topics otherwise not addressed and gives voice to people who otherwise remain unheard. As such it democratises theatre and gives it back in the hands of people – as in the beginning, when theatre represented a place of free outdoor singing of the people for the people. Its staging topics therefore also derive from the people themselves. It enables ways to address questions and explore manners to fight inequalities, discrimination, racism, injustices and other forms of oppression, which may not be seen or evident at first sight. The basic concept of the Theatre of the Oppressed is power, through which the method explores, discusses and exposes power relations between the oppressor and the oppressed – when, how and where does the oppressor abuse power for the purpose of exploiting and oppressing the Other, the oppressed, which does not possess power or it has been taken away. With this in mind the Theatre of the Oppressed demolishes and erases the conventional positions of power among the (active) actors and (passive) spectators, as it creates a space for dialogue among them and places them in a new position of actively involved spect-actors (spectators and actors in one).

Newspaper Theatre combines several approaches – simple reading, rhythmical reading, cross-reading, complementary reading, parallel action, improvisation, historical reading, empowerment, exemplification of abstract ideas, texts out of the context etc. The purpose of the technique is to re-design and change daily news, newspapers, various articles, political speeches, national constitution, Declaration of Human Rights, Bible extracts and other non-dramatic material into theatre scenes. Raising questions like »What is exposed and what is hidden in the article?«, »What does the title say and what do the photos tell?«, »Who is the news intended to?«, Newspaper Theatre brings attention to the subjectivity of the media and its power, which is in the hands of the dominant class.

Invisible Theatre directly reaches and intervenes into society with a specific problem, for the purpose of promoting discussion, stimulating public dialogue, raising awareness about the problem in focus and raising questions in the public sphere. The spectators in Invisible Theatre, randomly passing-by, are transformed into protagonists of a staged action – spect-actresses, without knowing they are a part of a pre-staged, directed and not entirely improvised performance, which appears as a completely every day situation. Only the actresses know it is a pre-staged and directed performance. Invisible Theatre never enacts violent scenes, because the purpose of the technique is to resolve the existing violence, not to reproduce it. The purpose of the technique is for the included spect-actresses to continue thinking about the problem after the performance; also later on in their home or with their friends and thus directly perpetuate the discussion about the presented problem.

Forum Theatre is a technique in which the actors present a short scene of oppression. The technique is based on the improvisation from the spect-actors. The first presentation of the scene(s) is followed by repetitions with interventions, where the spect-actors play out their suggestions for facing the situation by physically acting them out on the stage. The interventions are followed by broader public discussion about the reality of each intervention and its realistic potential for the suggested situation. The scene(s) are repeated several times with different interventions. Forum Theatre also includes a moderator, i.e. the joker who represents the bridge between the spectators and actors and encourages the spect-actors to active participation, direct action, discussion and thinking. This technique uses theatre as tool to address the possibilities for social change – it is a reflection of reality and an exercise for action in future real-life situations.

Image Theatre comprises of several techniques, often used as preparations for other techniques. The participants, using non-verbal forms, embody their feelings and experience using only images and space. The actresses express themselves with means of ‘frozen images’, by placing attention on the position of their bodies, frozen movements, mimic and facial expressions. In the process of shaping, words are not allowed – ‘the sculptress’ shapes the statues by moving parts of the body of other participants or by presenting an image herself, which has to be copied as identically as possible. Later on the images are turned into dynamic ones by adding movement and key words or sentences.

Rainbow of Desire is a series of fifteen theatre techniques from Boal’s therapeutic array to help visualize personal, internalized oppressions and fears. While other Theatre of the Oppressed techniques aim to democratise the theatre, The Rainbow of Desire strives to democratise the therapy itself. During therapy the ‘patient’ is not a passive transmitter of therapy, but acts as the director of his own therapeutic process, along with other participants, who enable a new, multidimensional reading of the event. The Rainbow of Desire is not an interpretation of an event – the co-participants provide the protagonist mirrors of different ways of dealing with the situation.

Aesthetics of the Oppressed is a term used by Augusto Boal for a wide range of cultural and artistic activities developed by communities to challenge, resist and transform oppression. As an upgrade to the base of theatre of the oppressed and pedagogy of the oppressed, aesthetics restores the power of art and theatre to »free the oppressor as well as the oppressed«, which through creativity, art, dialogue and education »restores our deepest humanity«. It represents a fusion of various approaches and techniques with the desire to discuss the scenes of oppression from an aesthetic viewpoint. The process itself combines writing poems, letters, personal reflections etc., which are later presented in different ways – by painting, photographing (photography of the oppressed), through dancing, music, installations etc.

Legislative Theatre became an independent technique during Boal’s mandate as city counsellor in Rio de Janeiro (1993 – 1997). It represents a form of democracy, utilizing all forms of the Theatre of the Oppressed, combining them with conventional rituals of parliamentary chamber with the aim of transforming the citizens’ legitimate desires into laws. Following a forum theatre performance a senate-like place is created, in which we proceed to create a similar ritual of law-making, based on the spect-actors’ interventions (defending, refusing, voting etc.). In the final stage, the approved suggestions are collected and handed over to the legislators into consideration and possible approval. In his mandate, Boal was able to change 20 laws, involving people’s suggestion which were collected using the technique of Legislative Theatre. He believed the power to make decisions about social questions should be in the hands of the people and not the governing elite.