Friday, July 13, 2012


The last day of workshops with Lisa Jo Epstein was full of forum theater and reflection of the past three days.  As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I am very happy to say that I have grown to love and truly appreciate the work of The Theatre of the Oppressed.  Now that the third day of her time with us is over, I can't help but wish that we actually had another week to go further into the techniques she has taught us because I now understand the meaning and power of each exercise she led us through.

Cameron and Iris, Theater Exercise
The Theatre of the the Oppressed has such a powerful resonance in the communities it reaches because the methods teach people that change can only be created from within.  In other words, I need to achieve my own freedom and work through my personal problems rather than focusing on changing the people in power.  While those people seem to be the ideal target, as they are the ones running the corrupt organizations, I have begun to understand that if the oppressed beat their oppressions from within their own direct lives, the result can create a domino effect that liberates everyone.  I think the idea that we need to focus more on the oppressed than the oppressor seems non-progressive to some people, but it makes sense now because I think it is easier to change yourself than to change other people.  From these workshops I now think we need to pay more attention to ourselves before we go out and fight against huge corporations.  However, I do agree that this would be a long process that people may be skeptical about, like I was when Lisa first joined us in class.  Hopefully though, by bringing this idea and some techniques back to my community I can make some sort of change in the minds of my peers and community members back home.

Now that it is the weekend, I am very excited to go to Washington D.C tomorrow!  I have been there a couple of times, but it will definitely be a different experience with my new friends.  I have a feeling that I will constantly thinking about how I can apply the observation skills I've learned in class to the environments I am in tomorrow.  Especially since I am in the Social Justice academy, I think that traveling to different cities like New York and D.C provide an excellent opportunity for me to practice honing my new skills outside of the classroom.  I feel that I am much more aware of my surroundings, my actions, and those of the people around me now, but going to D.C will allow me to see how well I pay attention to these things in a different environment.  Hopefully I am as conscious of my surroundings in D.C as I am, and continue to be, in the classroom everyday because I need to be able to carry on my learnings when I return home to the East Bay.

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