A Typical Performance

  1. The Scene:  a short research-based play demonstrates a complex human problem with no single solution.  This part is, in essence, traditional theatre:  an audience watching a ten-minute scene.
  2. Talk-Back:  following the scene, actors stay in character and respond to questions asked by the audience, who gain further insight into the problem.
  3. Intervention: Once the talkback is over, the scene is run again.  However, this time members of the audience have the chance to stop the scene and intervene; they may enter the scene as themselves or replace a character in the scene to try to solve the problem in a safe space. (Note: Our actors are trained not to attack the intervener but to make the resistance realistic.)
  4. Feedback:  the characters and the audience provide feedback to the spectator on her strategy;
  5. Discussion:  the audience engages in discussion of the issues raised by the play.

Performances can run from 50 minutes to two hours, depending on the time available, though we prefer at least an hour and 15 minutes. We can restructure the talk-back and intervention sections to meet the needs of the group requesting a performance.


ITT covers a broad range of social justice issues, so choosing the one that best fits your needs might seem daunting. Below is a run down on the topics tackled in each script, and a summary of the presented scene.

"Parts of Speech"
(religious diversity, free speech)

An English composition class is about to begin. Two students who have just walked past Speaker’s Circle and a zealous preacher exhorting students to renounce their sins, arrive to class debating issues of free speech. Next a conservative Christian student complains about terrorists in their midst, offending a Muslim student who is having a really bad day.  The students start to engage in a dialogue about religious difference, but the instructor insists on continuing with today’s lesson, “dangling modifiers.”

(sexism, heterosexism, heteronormalcy)

Do you assign group projects for any of your classes?  Ever wonder what the students talk about while the teacher’s away?  In this scene depicting a student group meeting to plan their project, buried tensions erupt into offensive speech and angry accusations.  The group blows apart.  No work can get done on the project unless the conflicts are resolved.  This peek into the “backstage area” of student behavior is based on real-life situations.  The sketch was originally devised by gay and lesbian students plus allies in a Theatre of the Oppressed class.

"Astronomy 101: Science and Religion"
(science and religion, intellectual pluralism, student-teacher interaction)

In this sketch, set in a science classroom, Dr. Star tries to facilitate a Difficult Dialogue. Concerned by her university’s “Intellectual Pluralism” policy, which she perceives as an attempt to prevent conservative Christian students from being silenced by their liberal professors, she shows in class a video in which a noted scientist professes equal enthusiasm for religion and science. She hopes the video will stimulate her students to share their personal perspectives, listen to each other with respect--and will forestall the kind of teaching evaluation in which a student accuses her of attempting to squash his biblical beliefs about such matters as the age of the earth. Not having been trained in facilitation of Difficult Dialogues, Dr. Star makes mistakes. The conversation degenerates into heated argument.

"Identity Politics"
(race, ethnicity, affirmative action)

This sketch explores student perceptions of race and ethnicity in a comical and thought provoking discussion about the ambiguous background of Dr. Blair, one of their professors. By the time another faculty member enters the dialogue, the students have turned to a more heated debate about whether Dr. Blair was 'an affirmative action hire.' This sketch provides a rich opportunity to explore issues such as language use, political correctness, affirmative action, racial-cultural identity, respectful dialogue, and the relevance of difficult dialogues to seemingly unrelated course content.

Scripts About Health

Available By Request

“Depo No Go”
(health, birth control, health equity)

“Depo No Go” sets the scene in an OBGYN clinic at a teaching hospital, where a mother has brought her daughter in to receive the Depo-Provera shot as a method of birth control. The performance explores the sticky terrain of birth control choices, and some discussion on a parent’s right to control their child’s body. As ideas of bodily rights collide, the scene breaks into a heated shouting match, and the mother storms out, daughter in tow.

“Boy Scout White Out”
(health equity, race)

After a serious skiing accident, Jordan comes to the General Practice med clinic to seek better medical help. The doctors that see him are critical of the injury, and act less seriously than the young man would like, especially at the expense of his story as a black Eagle Scout. In the performance, the doctors are aloof and not as helpful as they should be considering Jordan’s pain.

“Nutrition 101”
(body image, health)

"Nutrition 101" engages audience members in difficult conversations surrounding issues of appearance, body image, the organic and green food movements, and dietary choices. This performance also utilizes multi-media to discuss how media, advertising, and Photoshop shape and influence our views on beauty and health

“Dialogues About Breast Cancer”
(health, empathy, patient advocacy)

Focusing on common issues in doctor-patient communication, the “Dialogues About Breast Cancer” are real stories told by doctors and breast cancer survivors. These scenes are performed in classrooms for medical students and nursing students for empathy and communication training, as well as for members of the community at large for discussions about patient advocacy. Audience members are given the opportunity to intervene in a scene and improvise a new ending, rehearsing for the moment when they might find themselves in a similar real life situation.