The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

A Eulogy for Augusto Boal May 6, 2009

Filed under: World Theatre Day — Rebecca Coleman @ 12:24 am
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As I posted on Sunday, Augusto Boal, founder of The Theatre of the Oppressed, and writer of this year’s World Theatre Day International Address, has died.

Here in Vancouver, the man closest to Boal is certainly David Diamond, Artistic Director of Headlines Theatre. Yesterday, Diamond sent out this eulogy which he wrote for his friend and colleauge, and I asked him if I could share it.

It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the death of Brazilian theatre director and founder of the “Theatre of the Oppressed” (TO), Augusto Boal. In the early hours of May 2, 2009, the world experienced the passing of a visionary theatre artist, activist and educator.

Boal’s passionately theatrical spirit and his uncompromising commitment to human rights, combined with an infectious sense of play, spread the ideas and practice of TO around the world.

Boal leaves a rich legacy of innovation in theatre and social activism, books, articles, and inspired hearts and minds. As Chris Vine, a friend and colleague from NY wrote upon hearing this sad news, “…we are all grateful for the lives Boal had touched, inspired and linked together artistically, politically and personally, transcending time and distance.”

To me, personally, he was an inspiration, a mentor, a colleague and a beloved friend. No more fiery emails back and forth, Augusto? This is so hard to contemplate. You will always be a welcome “Cop in my Head”. Thank you for so much.

Messages have been posted on the International Theatre of the Oppressed (ITO) website from Adrian Jackson, a TO practitioner and translator of Boal’s books, http://www.theatreoftheoppressed.org. and Bárbara Santos, on behalf of the Centre of the Theatre of the Oppressed (CTO) Rio. Access Bárbara’s message by clicking on the image of Boal in the upper right of the home page. A condolences registry, where you can leave your thoughts, is available by clicking inside the “interventions” link of Adrian’s message.

On behalf of all of us at Headlines, our condolences to the Boal family, CTO Rio, the global TO community, and all. Boal touched the lives of so many.

David Diamond
Artistic Director, Headlines Theatre, Vancouver BC, Canada

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Augusto Boal Dies May 2, 2009

Filed under: World Theatre Day — Rebecca Coleman @ 3:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

I was stunned to receive this email today from Carla Estefan, with whom we had quite a lot of contact during our World augusto_boal_klTheatre Day celebrations. Augusto Boal was the given the honour of writing this year’s World Theatre Day International Address.

The playwright and theater director, Augusto Boal, died in the early hours of today, at 78 years, of respiratory failure in the Samaritan Hospital in the district of Botafogo, Rio. He suffered from leukemia and was hospitalized  since April 28. The location and time of the funeral have not been disclosed.

The work of Boal, who was also essayist and theorist of theater, gained prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, when he  created the Theater of the Oppressed, which was internationally recognized by combining drama to social action.

Boal  graduated with a degree in Chemistry fromthe Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in 1950, but then traveled to the United States, where he studied dramatic arts at Columbia University. Back in Brazil, his first piece as a director was Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, which garnered him an award from the  APCA (São Paulo Association of Art Critics). He directed of the show Opinião, with Zé Kette, João do Vale and Nara Leão, which went down in history as an act of resistance to the military coup of 1964.

From Boal’s WTD International Address:

Weddings and funerals are “spectacles”, but so, also, are daily rituals so familiar that we are not conscious of this. Occasions of pomp and circumstance, but also the morning coffee, the exchanged good-mornings, timid love and storms of passion, a senate session or a diplomatic meeting – all is theatre.

Participate in the “spectacle” which is about to begin and once you are back home, with your friends act your own plays and look at what you were never able to see: that which is obvious. Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!

We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.

Boal was a man who truly used theatre to change the world. A bright light has gone out today, and he will be sorely missed.

Read the entire WTD address.

Read my interview with David Diamond, Boal’s colleague here in Vancouver.

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