Get audiences on their feet! How to Joker Forum Theatre workshop

TFP Feature - Jokering 101

Registration is CLOSED.

Jokering 101 WorkshopTFP Register Button

Saturday and Sunday, February 2-3
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in New York, NY

What makes a successful Forum scene? How do you work with actors to develop skills to respond to spect-actors? How do you engage audience members to become spect-actors?

In Theatre of the Oppressed’s Forum Theatre, the most crucial and delicate role is that of the Joker. The Joker is a sort of Master of Ceremonies, facilitator, spectator and actor. The Joker breaks the divide between the traditions of spectator and actor, speaking directly with both actors and spect-actors. Successful Jokers are curious, critical, quick and creative and able to keep audiences thinking, questioning and dialoguing. However, it is difficult to practice Jokering skills before the stage.

This unique workshop focuses on the practicing the skills of Jokering and gives participants the chance to build skills for the stage. While working with other new and growing Jokers and with actors from The Forum Project’s Performance Troupe, participants will learn and practice skills that take Forum out of the rehearsal and into performances.

Click here to register or for more information, or you can visit theforumproject.org/offerings/jokering101. Sliding scale and articipants must have some previous experience with Theatre of the Oppressed. 

More about the role of the Joker, from Theatre of Change by S. Leigh Thompson:

Boal has commented that the role is not of a facilitator, but a difficultator. Shutzman explains, “The objectives of [the Joker] aesthetic of ambiguity were to obscure easy answers, to question what passes as reality, to discourage a kind of heroism that mythifies essential facts, and, finally, to deem submissiveness and tranquility untenable” (147). The Joker assists in prohibiting catharsis because they work to disrupt, preventing complacency. In the often magical environment of Forum, the Joker works to push against magical solutions that cannot be sustained in reality. It is their responsibility to keep interventions within the realm of reality in order to support attainable tactics that can be achieved in real life.

And the Joker serves to support the spect-actors. The spect-actors observe the Joker observing, which confuses the position of who is watching and who is watched. This blurring of roles leaves space for others to step into the functions of the blurred roles, thus encouraging participation of the spect-actors.