It's one of the most famous and used T.O. technique. It expects the presentation of a problematic scene as a stimulus for the "spect-actor" intervention. The audience try to solve the situation, or however to find some possible alternative, by replacing the Protagonist. This technique was created in Peru, by case, when a woman in the audience didn't see realised her desires by the actors, about a family scene. Usually the scene shows a negative situation, with an oppression or conflict or problem not solved. The scene is showed once again and the second time the audience is asked to intervene. The Forum leader, called Joker, direct the game without judging the interventions but asking the audience about the possibility of realising the proposal, questioning them.
In South America the Forum was plaid as simulation, general rehearsal before the
the planned action (strike, demonstration...); in Europe has become a real
and true show, the style can also be not realistic (symbolic, surreal...),
often the audience is not homogeneous as in South America.
This technique is based on images built up with the persons' bodies; these
images tell how a person and a group think visually the theme; the images
can also be dynamised with the audience intervention or autonomously to
explore the inner tensions, the conflicts, desires and possible changes.
Because image is likely more connected with the unconscious, the non-verbal,
the left cerebral hemisphere, it allows a knowledge that pass through the
control made by the conscious mind, overcomes defences and repressions,
helps to free our imaginary.
These around 20 techniques continuously enriched and developed are the last
but one Boal's creative production.
They were developed in a year long workshop held in Paris in 1980 together
with the animators from the "Centre du Theatre de l'Opprime'" to answer to
a new question: how T.O. can face the inner oppression those where
<the problem is in the person more then in the situation>, without falling
in an individual psychotherapy but keeping the T.O. principles to be a
collective research of liberation?
Boal, as he tells self-ironically in the workshops, arrives in Europe in 1979, being used to face oppressions well visible and concrete, based on physical violence, strength, embezzlement. He proposes his workshops in France and then all over and the western participants bring in them oppressions unknown to him: loneliness, powerlessness, confusion, inner malaise... Early Boal refuses to deal with these questions and asks <but where are the policemen? Where are the oppressors?> and finally he gives up to reality and sentences <also here in Europe there are oppressions, but they are more hidden, more subtle; also here people live badly, until to kill themselves for it; we must discover the oppressors; they are in the head>. From here the first techniques like "The cops and their anti-bodies", "The rainbow of desires", "The analytic image" etc. that explore the inwardness of person to make him to emerge and put on the stage, but visible for all, the inner oppressors; oppressors who were in the past, real and alive people that the Protagonist met and now they are hidden in his mind like images of prohibition, terror, seduction, powerlessness...
These techniques aim to bring out these Cops so that the Protagonist could recognise and face them by means of theatre, but also because the group could train and work to fight against these inner obstacles.
All techniques are based on an initial story from the Protagonist, followed by the construction of images proposed by him and/or the audience and further improvisations in a kaleidoscope of relations and levels (real and symbolic, fantastic and grotesque...) that allow an exploration rich of suggestions.
Here the connection between T.O. and psychodrama appears more strong as sentenced by Daniel Feldhendler in his German book unfortunately not translated yet. There are however some important differences among psychodrama and Cops-techniques that are analysed in a long term course held by Giolli in Rome, started in October 2004.
Translation in process.