Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pantomime for Social Change

I always admired pantomime as being the one of the highest forms of entertainment. And that is why my students will be learning social change by way of performing pantomime.

The course outline was developed by Training for Change, which leads workshops for some very worthwhile causes, such as "civil disobedience workshops for nursing-home workers" -- and also has a most impressive client list, including Greenpeace USA, ACT-UP, and The Women's Prison Association.

My course's syllabus, placing emphasis on Progress Through Collective Conflict, is taken directly from the Training for Change Tool Page:

Group I

Create a pantomime in which some of you are engaging in injustice against the rest of you. Create a visual way of showing which are those who are doing the injustice. In the pantomime, show the oppressed ones rising up or in some way confronting the injustice, nonviolently. We ask for this realistic note: not all the oppressed ones are united, but this does not necessarily prevent success.

Group II

Create a pantomime in which about half of you are engaged in some collective activity that gives you satisfaction or productivity. Then the other half tries to take over the first group and force it to do some different activity. The first half resists nonviolently.

Group III

Create a pantomime in which one-fourth of you are fighting with another one-fourth of you. Start with arguing, and you can escalate to being physical but it's not OK to hurt anyone. The other half of you not involved in the fight intervene nonviolently to reduce the physicalness of the fighting, although not to resolve the conflict.

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