Our Collective Protest Sign

Our Collective Protest Sign

Once again the task of adapting Theatre of The Oppressed to Occupy San Diego presented some challenges, but our presence definitely added to the rally.  We had some logistical problems with some participants arriving late and others not arriving at all.  This situation actually provided the opportunity to announce our sculpture and invite participate during the set-up prior to the speeches.  Several people enthusiastically took roles in the sculpture and the other attendees were intrigued. This format was not well suited for presenting the sculpture for an analytical process.  Due to the nature of the event and the lack of coordination with the planners of the rally, there was no time to deliberately establish the whole sculpture and give it the time and space it needed for analysis.  However, the attendees of the rally definitely appreciated and responded positively to the components and complexities of the image.  Many people took pictures and arranged our actors into smaller sculptures for photo opportunities. The power of the sculpture in this setting is that it amplifies the individual impulse to carry a sign into a larger collective image.  This collectivizing of “the protest sign” is emblematic of the Occupy Wall Street movement itself.  We become more powerful and more thoughtful when combine our individual thoughts and actions into a collective and collaborative process and...

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Image of the Corporate Marionettes

We returned again to Freedom Plaza for our new teach-in last Sunday, December 4.  Our task was to create and rehearse a living sculpture for the International Day of Human Right Rally, planned for next Saturday December 10.  With a new group of willing participants we had a very productive session.  Although, I must say that conditions for conducting a theatre workshop on the streets are quite challenging.  After some demechanizing warm-ups we created a series of sculptures and arrived at a final image to show at the rally.  The image features the system of power as a hierarchical series of marionettes with the banks and corporations as the master puppeteer. All the money is flowing from the citizens into the pockets of the powerful.  In opposition are a group of citizens, petitioning the government for basic human rights – a living wage, secure retirement, affordable healthcare, collective bargaining etc. Below are some photos: This slideshow requires...

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Living Sculpture for Wells Fargo

We returned enthusiastically on Saturday, November 17 to meet with the theatre participants and take our image to Wells Fargo.  During the previous week, however, the 24/7 encampment had been shut down and the atmosphere at Freedom Plaza was quite different.  Many of our original participants were not there and, in general, the mood was more sedate.  People were hanging out and hunkered down.  So we hunkered down also. Slowly over several hours, Eva David recruited enough new people to recreate the sculpture.  We did not try to hold a workshop or use any of our techniques.  Our goal was to build the sculpture and take it to Wells Fargo. By 3:00 PM we had our living sculpture build.  We announced over the people”s mic that we would march to Wells Fargo and present the image there.  Only a few folks joined us in the march.  We arrived at Wells Fargo, and built our sculpture in front of the existing bronze nudes that grace the entrance to the building.  I started to interrogate the sculpture with the few folks that followed us.  I asked if the image was true and one person said yes.  I missed an opportunity to go further with the interrogation, but for some reason I backed off.   We had some interactions with passing cars, but, by this time bank was closed and there was no foot traffic. Our plan is to find a better time, when the bank is open and try again.  This was a good practice session for a future event.  Many lessons learned. Below are some photos by Nic Paget-Clarke and...

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Occupy SD – Image Theatre for Wells Fargo Plaza

On a rainy, Saturday in November, a group of Occupy San Diego particpants began to develop an analytical  image to present in front of  the Wells Fargo Bank at the corner of Market and 1st Ave.  The image intends to portray the relationship of banks and corporations to the actual suffering of our people and the political structures that have enable them. Due to the rain we did not get a photo of the finished image and we did not march to Wells Fargo.  But the participants will meet again to complete the image and present it.  Below is a composite of the image.  Photos by Johnny Nguyen. The image shows a “Too Big to Fail Bank” foreclosing on a couple of Home Owners. Behind the bank stands a Judge, Law Enforcement and The Government with their backs turned to the couple.  Money is being passed to The Judge and The Government is branded with the bank logos.  Next to The Home Owners is a Homeless Veteran with disabilities while The Unfeeling Public stands by talking on a cellphone.  In the final image, The Bank is also passing money to The Government and standing on the American Promise.  Behind the triumvirate of Judge, Law Enforcement and Government towers The 1%. As we continue to develop the image to contain a complete analysis of the crisis, some more elements will be added. We must address some questions: How did the Home Owners come to this situation?  Jobs outsourced?  Sub-prime loan? etc. Why is the Government”s back turned to the situation? Why is the public indifferent? Perhaps these questions and more will lead to additional elements to further describe the situation.  It would also be useful to add placards with statistics and facts that increase our understanding. When the image is presented in front of the Wells Fargo Bank, it will be springboard for dialogue with the public.  Is the image true?  On what part of the image can we focus our efforts to most effectively produce positive change?  What will that change look like? etc. Below are some more images from the...

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