College Essay Examples

Critical Analysis: Oppression

Task 1: Essay Analysis

In his essay, “Theatre of the Oppressed,” Augusto Boal explains how theatre can be used as a tool for change by transforming the audience into a spectator. In this case, the oppressed protagonist undergoes some transformations that enable the audience to connect the plot’s setting to the real world. Notably, the last scene of Lynn Nottage’s play, Ruined, expresses Boal’s concepts regarding the empowerment of the oppressed. This final scene ends with Mama Nadi dancing with Christian after reconciling. Boal’s direction of empowerment revealed in this scene is image theatre technique. It entails enabling the audience to communicate with the actors through images. In this case, the audience does not rely on words alone to be engaged with the play’s setting. The audience becomes the spectator by feeling or relating to the character’s emotions. 

In Ruined, Mama Nadi claims that she is ruined because of the oppression she has undergone at the hands of the rebel soldiers. She has also suffered losses in her business while trying to protect girls who have been a victim like her. Her final dance with Christian marks her transformation from a victim to an empowered woman. Through the dance, the audience feels that she is finally happy after a long time even though she does not say it verbally. They can also tell that she is in love and empowered to appreciate herself as a woman worthy of love. She had previously said that she is incapable of love because of her tragic past. With the audience observing this transformation through imagery theatre, it cannot help but be happy for her. This reaction elevates the audience to spectators as they are now actively engaged with the play’s world. More so, as spectators, they reflect their observation of the play in their lives to learn that victims of oppression are usually overcome to become strong.

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