|Theatre therapy with addicts; from the drug
user to the theatre
by Georges Baal
sources of theatre therapy can be found at shamans - since those
times it appears in very different forms: in religion, in so called
primitive rituals, in Greek philosophy and the esoteric ceremonies
of exorcism; the theatre therapy differs in many aspects from psycho
speaking the very characteristic feature of western theatre, the
drama, performed in presence of public as the product of a certain
process is not the part of the theater therapy, which takes place
in three phases: exercises with body and voice, improvisation and
the analysis of stories, dramatic or poetic fragments.
the last years, working with drug users this theory has been changed:
the collaboration between the ATRAAL and Leo Amici Foundation approved
that the performance based on a literal text and played in the presence
of public gave a possibility for a deeper therapy with a bigger
social effect. When starting a two-weeks workshop, we could not
imagine, that having finished this period the clients having taken
part in the work, presented the play inspired by Maldoror's song
of Lautréamont in the theatre of Komló.
main feature if the exercises and improvisations is the continuous
balancing between the real and symbolic; it revalues the relations.
Beginning with the simple technical exercises one can slowly reach
the more important relations.
task of the theatre therapy is to make clear the inner obstacles
and to change it step by step into useful energy.
the theatre therapeutic meeting begins with conquesting the space
(stage); the first task is to feel oneself, to be with oneself;
then there are meetings with one an other, without any obligation,
on non-verbal, symbolical level; it is followed by creating groups,
then the whole group works together.
the drug-users are marginalized people, the aim of these exercises
is to change the symbolic space-map, the image built by them for
themselves. The Ego on the stage, as a role becomes the Ego on is
exercises with the space are followed by exercises of trust.
end of this process there is a complex relation between the reality
and the sub-consciousness.
nonverbal exercises are followed by a verbal phase at the end: then
the feelings, emotions, experiences, fears, doubts, joys etc. are
discussed. The analytical interpretation finds its place in this
group therapy starts from the group itself (from the material of
consciousness and sub consciousness of its members), and its aim
is the work with the inner world of the participants. The theatre
gives the result of the process to the public, and not the process
itself - that is the main difference.
the theatre therapy the primary question is: "Who am I? That,
what I think about myself? That, what others think about me? The
questions like these have a special power among drug users, since
they try to go through the boundaries of being by the help of drugs.
The publicity of the working process means a whish and a fear at
the same time, but it also means, that the person participating
in it is acceptable as he/she is, was and will be. The performance
is processing in the presence of witnesses and it makes the therapy
authentic; at the same time, it brings bank the drug user to the
community: the drug addict use drugs only for him/herself, but for
him/herself and for the others chooses recovery.