Date of Award
What you will read is the commencement of an ongoing conversation and questioning of human nature. The human in people allows for restriction within our individual selves and also throughout the way we interact with others. Societal constructs of what is the norm and what is and isn’t acceptable cause us to immediately put up guards around ourselves which inevitably prevent us from forming certain relationships, traveling to certain places, and also from being happy. Defying the norm is scary. Moreover, expressing that the norm is bad is very difficult.
“In order to effect change, the old values must be replaced or destroyed and either new values set up or an open space of no values created for the wind to blow through. This destruction of old values is the revolution of cultures.”1
There is a need for human expression and through art, particularly theatre, people can access hidden emotions, which through a process, liberate and empower themselves to form new relationships and interact differently. Essentially we must take away any restrictions/burdens painted on by society. If something is aesthetically pleasing and provides an opportunity to “safely” break down barriers that restrict, people are willing and able to defy/change first by changing themselves and next the world.
Therefore, this thesis represents a forum created to discuss Political Theatre and how it can be used to evoke Social Change: first by providing a historical perspective on Political Theatre (In India and America), second by looking into examples of different theatre organizations (In India and America), and lastly, as an example, the forum presents the issue of the current education system (in America) and its inequalities in the form of a play.
A conversation is therefore ignited but not limited to class, culture, wealth, education and privilege, all subjects, which are directly affected by the restrictions that society lays on us. Through this forum we can fulfill our human need of expression in a new and uncomfortable environment with strangers and that, in and of itself, is true internal social change.
1 Malina, Judith, and Julian Beck. Paradise Now: Collective Creation of The Living Theatre. Toronto, Canada: Random House, 1971. Pg. 27
Rivera, Hector, "The People Zindabad (Long Live the People): Political Theatre as a Means for Social Change" (2012). Senior Theses. 646.