Jana Sanskriti (Bengali for “People’s Culture”) mixes Indian folk theater with the political action of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. Teams of actors perform plays in their villages, enacting the problems of rural society—patriarchy, sexism, alcoholism, religious hegemony, imperialism, political corruption—then each audience member has the opportunity to take the place of an oppressed character onstage, replaying a scene and trying to change the situation by breaking the oppression. This “Forum Theater” is a rehearsal for reality: the entire community sees issues from many perspectives along with their possible alternatives, and ideas that were tested and worked onstage can then be adopted into everyday life. By touring and returning to villages several times, Jana Sanskriti multiplies its movement, fostering more Forum Theater teams who answer the needs of their communities. In this way, millions of people participate in Jana Sanskriti’s work of dismantling oppression and changing society.
Printed at the worker-owned Stumptown Printers, Portland, OR.
This is #71 in the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series.
Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews teaches movement, performance, and politics at Goddard College, Tufts University, and with Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed.