It’s literally called “Theater Of the Oppressed”, and it takes place at Portland Community College, as part of a larger endeavor entitled Illumination Project. This edition of the theater is called “Cis-Stemic”, and it features some of the day-to-day oppression that a transgender person suffers through. College students and faculty act out scenes from a trans person’s experiences, and the audience members get a chance to interrupt this by inserting themselves into the scene in order to solve whatever evil doing is happening.
In one scene, they are in a bathroom, and the male-to-female transgender is washing his/her hands, as an actual female comes in and is taken aback by the fact that there is a dude wearing women’s clothing in the women’s restroom. A green haired feminist, who was previously seen using an autism awareness display to block cameras, hollers out “STOP” in the middle of the scene and inserts herself into the scene.
She stands up for the trans person by saying “There are other restrooms, and if you’re not comfortable here, then you can go to the other restroom” to the actual woman.
Yes, college students are now being conditioned to tell properly gendered people to use a different restroom if they are uncomfortable with a transgender.
After each scene, they all kumbaya and reflect on their brave interruption of… uhh, something.
The guy facilitating this is Brad Fortier, of PCC’s women’s resource center. Fortier can also be seen in the “white guy smile” video.
The entire performance can be seen on the Laughing At Liberals channel on YouTube.
The Illumination Project page on the PCC website describes its mission as:
The Illumination Project’s mission is to create an inclusive, socially just academic and general community through student leadership development and social change theater. The main purpose of the Illumination Project is to create a campus climate that is inclusive and promotes equal access to education. The Illumination Project’s interactive community performances are designed so that large factions of the campus participate in problem-solving around issues that traditionally have made education more difficult for students of color, women students, poor/working class students, immigrant and sexual minority students.
In a realistic yet safe atmosphere actors and audience members have the opportunity to rehearse situations in order to build their communication skills and understand possible alternative behaviors. The Illumination Project also enables audience members to take on different characters in order to build empathy with the experience of others – a key element in living respectfully within a pluralistic society.
The Illumination Project curriculum covers current research and theory on institutional oppressions. The curriculum addresses the affects of oppression on individuals and society and the best practices to challenge oppressive behavior. The curriculum draws on multiple traditions – crafting links between feminist, critical, multicultural, queer, postcolonial, and other movements toward social justice.
Issues addressed include community building, consciousness-raising (around issues of race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, and ability), skill building, and taking action. Anti-oppression work is deep and complex. All activities are contextualized and are only used as the group is ready, working from lower risk to higher risk so that learning may take place in a safe and conducive environment.
Concurrently, students learn social justice theater and popular education techniques. Much of the work the Illumination Project does is based on “Theater of the Oppressed”, a form of social justice theater developed by Augusto Boal, a Brazilian theater activist. In “Theater of the Oppressed” plays are performed once without interruption and then again, allowing audience members to enter the scene, take on a character and positively alter the outcome of the scene.