The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
—founded in 1990—
339 Lafayette Street
New York, New York 10012
(212) 924-1858
toplabnyc@gmail.com
info@toplab.org


TOPLAB FALL 2016 EVENTS

"I believe that all the truly revolutionary theatrical groups should transfer to the people the means of production in the theater so that the people themselves may utilize them. The theater is a weapon, and it is the people who should wield it. —Augusto Boal

Monday, November 28 (7:30)

Lecture/discussion: Augusto Boal's Marxism and the Origins of the Theater of the Oppressed
a talk by Geo Britto
at The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, November 29 (7:30)

Lecture/discussion: Rio's Center for the Theater of the Oppressed, Then and Now
a talk by Geo Britto
at The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

And resuming on Wednesday, December 7....

• First Wednesdays: Theater of the Oppressed for Poets, Artists and Dreamers
—short, three-hour introductory workshops on the techniques of the Theater of the Oppressed; details to come


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point is to change it." —Karl Marx



"The Marxist poetics of Bertolt Brecht does not stand opposed to one or another formal aspect of the Hegelian idealist poetics but rather denies its very essence, asserting that the character is not absolute subject but the object of economic or social forces to which he responds and in virtue of which he acts...

"In Brecht's objection [to idealist poetics], as well as in any other Marxist objection, what is at stake is who, or which term, precedes the other: the subjective or the objective. For idealist poetics, social thought conditions social being; for Marxist poetics, social being conditions social thought. In Hegel's view, the spirit creates the dramatic action; for Brecht, the character's social relations create the dramatic action....

"Brecht was a Marxist; therefore, for him, a theatrical work cannot end in repose, in equilibrium. It must, on the contrary, show the ways in which society loses its equilibrium, which way society is moving, and how to hasten that transition.

"Brecht contends that the popular artist must abandon the downtown stages and go to the neighborhoods, because only there will he find people who are truly interested in changing society: in the neighborhoods he should show his images of social life to the workers who are interested in changing that social life, since they are its victims. A theater that attempts to change the changers of society cannot lead to repose, cannot re-establish equilibrium. The bourgeois police tries to re-establish equilibrium, to enforce repose: a Marxist artist, on the other hand, must promote the movement toward national liberation and toward the liberation of classes oppressed by capital...[Hegel and Aristotle] desire a quiet somnolence at the end of the spectacle; Brecht wants the theatrical spectacle to be the beginning of action: the equilibrium should be sought by transforming society, and not by purging the individual of his just demands and needs....

"I believe that all the truly revolutionary theatrical groups should transfer to the people the means of production in the theater so that the people themselves may utilize them. The theater is a weapon, and it is the people who should wield it."

—Augusto Boal (1931-2009),The Theater of the Oppressed