What do racism, alcoholism, addiction or bullying look like in our communities?
River Chandler has a sense that big complex issues like these can be tackled, if we try it one take at a time.
That is in part what Theatre for Living does.
Participants create moments of frozen time. A single distilled instance of conflict can then be approached and broken down, explored, talked about, brought to life.
Chandler, the artistic director of TheatreWorks based in Victoria BC, brought Theatre for Living to Pemberton as part of the 5th annual Wellness Gathering, to workshop the issue of reconciliation with 2 dozen high school students from Pemberton Secondary School and the Xet’olacw School in Mount Currie.
Yesterday, the students workshopped with Chandler. “We thought it would be interesting to hear what young people have to say about reconciliation, to find out their wisdom, because they have lots of wisdom,” says Chandler. “It’s topical, it’s timely to pick up the conversation given the national experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I have no idea what young people are thinking about reconciliation so I’m excited to hear what they think. ”
Theatre for Living grew out of work by exiled Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal, called Theatre of the Oppressed, and brought to Canada by Chandler’s colleague and teacher, David Diamond. It is designed to empower participants and make hard-to-talk-about issues easier to approach.
Why theatre as a tool? Says Chandler, “It puts life up there. Everything is bigger on stage, so it helps you look at it and think about it. I also think one of the things that is powerful about Theatre for Living is that it’s the people living the issues who are performing.”
Some aspect of the workshop will be presented at the Wellness Gathering, as one of several live demonstrations. Come by and enjoy the day.