Augusto Boal, a Brazilian theater theorist and practitioner, transferred the means of production of theater to the oppressed. The oppressed, formally passive spectators filled by the elites’ images of the world, became liberated participants in the creation of dramatic action. Through “people’s theater,” Boal encouraged participants to critically analyze their relationships with the world and in the world through onstage action. EDISCA (Escola de Dança e Integração Social para Criança e Adolescente [School of Dance and Social Integration for Children and Adolescents]), located in Fortaleza, Brazil, introduces artistic languages to children and adolescents from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The youth then have the opportunity to reconstruct and deconstruct those languages to represent experiences from their own lives. EDISCA, similar to Boal’s “people’s theater,” transfers the power of artistic creation to their students. Gilano Andrade, EDISCA’s artistic director, experiments with new approaches to apply EDISCA’s philosophy to other communities of socio-economically disadvantaged youth. I analyzed EDISCA, Gilano’s “Projeto Zero” in a juvenile detention facility and his work with local hip-hop groups to determine how EDISCA’s methodology, like Boal’s, facilitates participants’ humanization. Through the introduction of artistic languages, EDISCA’s methodology encourages students to view the world from a new perspective, thus providing for students’ critical analysis. EDISCA simultaneously reinforces its students’ ability to transform by supporting students’ manipulation of those artistic languages. EDISCA’s educational methodology, ultimately, encourages its students to facilitate the proliferation of human emancipation.
Performance Studies | Politics and Social Change
McDowell, Hannah, "Spectator to Actor to Multiplier: EDISCA’s Humanizing Methodology" (2007). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. Paper 243.