Tableaus on Social Justice Issues

Assign students into groups paying attention to the number of people you wish to have in each group (the more the merrier in this case). Ask each group to choose a social justice issue and portray the issue using a tableau. Ask them not to say which issue they choose. Once students are ready, they will take turns presenting their tableaus. As each group gets into their tableau, have the rest of the class turn away until that group is in their tableau, then have them turn to view the group presenting. Remind the class not to speak while viewing the presenters but to think about what they might be presenting. After a minute, ask the viewers to respond to the tableau by adding themselves into the scene. After everyone has become a part of the tableau, have the original presenters of that tableau “unfreeze” and look at how their viewers have responded. Then, have everyone unfreeze and discuss what they thought the issue was, what the issue actually was, and why the viewers responded the way that they did. The next group can then perform.

Benefits:

  • Teaches social justice issues or what ever topic is used
  • Team building
  • See other’s perspectives
  • Students may connect on an emotional level

Limitations:

  • A spacious room is necessary
  • The process will be lengthy

Applications:

  • Can be used to lead into larger discussions on the topic
  • Relationship building between performers and audience

Adaptations:

  • Topic is not limited to social justice issues
  • Size and number of groups
  • Discussion on the topic chosen can be discussed beforehand
  • Using a series of tableaus to create a narrative
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