Theater

T H E A T E R 

Theater catches the spirit and soul of community in a way both actors and audience can experience.

The word theater means very different things for all of us.  Some of us will immediately dismiss it as something we don’t have the skills for - but theater is one of the most powerful tools we have, because it makes exposes our vulnerabilities and inexperiences and invites others to push their own boundaries.   

Peaceful Uprising has experimented with different kinds of theater throughout the years, from Flash Mobs, to participatory Street Theater like our Climate Trial that recently went on the road to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.  We have found that being vulnerable in front of an audience, whether through satire, dance, or masked behind a giant puppet engages and electrifies not only the participants, but the audience as well.

 

FLASH MOBS: Flash Mobs have become increasingly popular over the years from highlighting a specific issue to just having fun.  In 2009,Peaceful Uprising orchestrated our first Flash Mob at an outdoor concert in Salt Lake City, Utah.  As an enormous “Climate Change Kills” banner was dropped off a parking garage, over 100 participants received a mass text saying, “drop”.  In the middle of a crowded outdoor plaza, the 100+ participants fell to the ground to play dead for 5 minutes to demonstrate that “climate change kills”.  Flash Mobs are fun, fearless, and can potently deliver a message in a non-threatening way that invites others to get involved.  Another great way to build Beloved Community.  


MIC-CHECKS: Mic-checks are a new form of theater emerging today; a perfect mix of a flash mob and participatory theater that can be used as a spectacle or as a direct action.  Usually a script is a good idea to have prepared and a group of “actors” that take part in the mic-check.  Peaceful Uprising worked with Occupy Salt Lake to orchestrate a mic-check at a Division of Air Quality meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah in December 2011 to let the Division of Air Quality know that the permits they’re giving to Rio Tinto are poisoning the air of the people.

 

STREET THEATER: Street Theater is an incredibly powerful experience, especially when combined with art and song.  Peaceful Uprising’s most successful street theater has been the “Climate Trial - a 30 minutes production that came about from our collective frustration that Tim DeChristopher’s Trial was delayed yet another time.  Peaceful Uprising decided to put on our own trial the way we believe it should actually happen.  It is informative, humorous, and combined with giant puppets, it creates a spectacle no passerby can ignore.  It invites the audience to participate as the jury and interact with the actors as the jury ultimately decides the outcome of the the characters taking the stand.  The Climate Trial script is available here, and there is a video courtesy of Tony Loro of the Climate Trial being at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.  


Our challenge to you: Challenge yourself and your community by planning a Flash Mob, Mic-Check or Street Theater performance. Then, share it so you can inspire others!