chapter  15
32 Pages

Participatory Dissemination

Working “with” an Audience
WithJoe Norris

On stage, a group of six A/R/Tors are standing in a straight line across the stage facing the audience. The audience quickly becomes engaged with responses to both the scene and each other’s comments. The Joker thanks the audience members for their ideas and asks for two volunteers to help the character in making a decision. The Joker employs “simultaneous dramaturgy,” in which the audience members redirect the characters on stage, and “forum theater,” in which the audience members replace the actors/researchers/teachers on stage, giving the characters their own take on the situation. The Joker takes a central role in this spiral dissemination phase of the research by brokering the prepared scenes with new emerging interpretations. The Joker walks a fine line between accepting the audience’s ideas and challenging them to think beyond them. The Joker guides, supports, and protects the volunteers by using questions to provide indefinite possibilities around which they can build a scenario.