Community Reconciliation through Playback Theatre-facilitated Dialogue in Nepal
In February 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Nepal was founded to find out the truth about incidents of gross violation of human rights in the course of armed conflict and providing recommendation for legal actions in the country. It is marked as an official process of dealing with the past to consolidate the process of transitional justice.
There is a national need to integrate the memories of the conflict to heal from human right violation and to work jointly towards attaining a sustainable peace. This process of healing and reconciliation can be complemented by providing favorable conditions for dialogue, healing and reconciliation in community.
Reconciliation is a deep emotional and personal process which involves individuals and communities suffered directly and inflicted sufferings in armed conflicts. Usually, the precondition for reconciliation is to find a space for mutual recognition and personal healing from what one has lived through. Therefore, reconciliation cannot be imposed; rather it has to emerge, itself. Playback is one of approaches to deal with past for healing and reconciliation.
Playback theatre is an interactive theatre form that is inspired by improvisational theatre, storytelling traditions and psychodrama which is being practiced in post-conflict societies since 1975 for healing and reconciliation. In playback theatre, audience is invited to tell his/her personal story/memory and watch it enacted on the spot. Therefore, playback is a combination of theatre art, social work, and a ritual for healing. It seeks to give space and recognition to voices that are usually unheard. In this regard, this study focuses on contribution of playback theatre in the communities of Nepal for individual level healing as well as community level reconciliation to complement the national process of reconciliation.
Dialogue-facilitation through theater supports in personal healing and community level reconciliation. The dialogue process includes theatre art to enhance trust building, empathic listening and collective healing. When theatre, music, dance or poetry is presented in the community all kinds of people join together. These cultural resources are very powerful connectors that can support establishing peace in society. In this regard, Playback Theatre is used as a key approach to provide space for healing and to enhance social cohesion in the community as a project.
The researcher involved during the project implementation for ten months. Therefore, the universe of research is the dialogue facilitators and audiences of playback theatre performances from the six communities from six different districts of Nepal. Method includes the secondary information obtained through observation and participation of the researcher. The study design will employ the qualitative research. The source of data analysis will be already collected interviews, stories and life inquiries from researcher’s perspective.
The paper explicitly deals with how Playback Theater supports to promote social harmony and coexistence for healing and reconciliation in post-conflict communities. And, this study is important to understand community level sentiment for sustainable peace and reconciliation from bottom up approach.