Devas – August 2017
Dr Radha Ramswamy visited Oxford from Bangalor in July 2017 to train a small group of Oxford based participants in the art of Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” and explain the principles of her own, unique version known as “Forum Theatre”. After attending the course in Oxford, I set up a three-week project with a group of young people at the Devas club, hoping to test and develop these theatrical techniques. A fantastic core of young people at the Devas showed their expressive linguistic and physical capabilities in shaping the scenes we studied.
Throughout the project at the Devas I was lucky enough to work closely with professional dancer Daryl Baker, whose ability and enthusiasm fuelled the hybrid theatre-dance workshops we created. As we came to realise that contemporary dance was an electric extension of Boal’s doctrine of the human body as “intelligent clay”, we started to translate moments in play texts into our own movement sequences. We had teenagers arguing passionately over whether or not Brutus really loved Portia, whether Lear was ultimately to blame for Regan’s (renamed Roxy) harsh treatment and how best to physically illustrate these tensions. It was a privilege to work at the Devas over the past weeks and I am delighted to consider the project far from finished.
Published: 1 August 2017