Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nischala's Blog-o-Q: What is Playback Theatre?

Playback Theater is an original form of improvisational theater in which audience or group members tell stories from their lives and watch them enacted on the spot.

The first Playback Theatre company was founded in 1975 by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas. Fox was a student of improvisational theatre, oral traditional storytelling, Jacob Moreno's psychodrama method and the work of Paulo Freire. Salas was a trained musician and activist. Both had served as volunteers in developing countries: Fox as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, Salas with New Zealand's Volunteer Service Abroad in Malaysia.
[Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playback_Theatre ]

Having attended a Playback Theater workshop, and having seen many performances live - I can definitely say that it is a truly unique art form - Simply because
(1) There is no story / script - The story evolves through the performance
(2) There is no casting of the actors done before the performance - Actors assume roles
(3) There is no specific "costumes" which the actors wear - So the focus is really on the "performance"
(4) Music can elevate the beauty of the performance
(5) It is one of the most powerful mediums and display of "natural acting talent"
(6) The synergies of the performing group makes an ocean of difference in the end performance

If you get a chance to watch a Playback Theater group perform, I suggest you attend it! You will enjoy the experience !
 
Additional Readings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playback_Theatre
http://www.playbacktheatre.org/
http://www.playbacknet.org/drupal/
http://www.playbackschooluk.org/
http://www.marylandplayback.org/what-is-playback-theatre.html 

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