Improv Theatre

1) Dramatizing the issue of money and politics is a great way to get people to pay attention. Put on a short skit. You do not have to be professional actors to dress up as Fat Cat Billionaires (with funny names like Iona Senator or Hal E. Burton), Lobbyists, Politicians on the take, or Students and Homeless people trying to influence legislation (lower tuition; build low-income housing etc). Have fun – write your own skit!

HINTS:
– Make it short and very simple so people get the point.
– Repeat it several times.
– Have big signs and banners to attract attention.
– The more outrageous and funny you look and act the better.
– Have others handing out flyers or information to the crowd.
– Put it on in a high traffic area.
– Ask students or faculty in the drama department for help – they’re sure to have great ideas. Get them involved!

2) Stage a rally for Fair Money on campus. Create big colorful posters with catchy slogans like “Save the Environment – Support Fair Elections,” “Make Your Voices Heard – Create a REAL Democracy,” “Texas U. loves Fair Elections.” The march around a high traffic area chanting slogans like “Hey-Hey-Ho-Ho-Big Money Has Got To go” or “What Do We Want? Fair Elections! When Do we Want Them? Now!” Make up your own, using themes that students will get. Hand out flyers and information to those who stop to look. (See Democracy Train & Rallies.)

3) Invite a student band to play at your events – including at the agit-prop theater performance. People love music and it always draws a crowd. Then you can hand out information and give a short speech about Democracy Matters. You might even try to get student bands to compete in writing a song about money and politics and give a “Democracy Matters” award for the best song. Hand out flyers and information to those who stop to listen. (See Music, Theater and Poetry.)

4) Guerrilla activism is a creative, extraordinary, and public presentation of an issue to draw attention. Examples of guerrilla activism include the following:

– When an American bank with a poor record of hiring Latinos announced its intention to open offices in Mexico, activists demonstrated outside one of its branches complete with a mariachi band.
– Forty members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe dressed as Santas and invaded a mall on the day after Thanksgiving – the busiest shopping day of the year – to protest rampant consumerism.
– When one governor announced that his state could not afford a Cadillac of a healthcare system and might have to settle for a Pinto, students at a local college towed an old Ford Pinto to the Statehouse and rallied around it.
– To do a Guerilla Activist project, read the newspaper for recent statements or events regarding money in politics. Brainstorm presentation ideas with chapter members – those that involve costumes, puppets, or big props usually work best.

You have two objectives:

1) Address the issue in a relevant manner. Before you go ahead, ask yourself these questions:

– What is my goal?
– Who is my target audience?
– What message am I sending?
– What effect will it have?
– Will it backfire?

2) Gather public attention. You can send a press advisory a week in advance and remind the reporters again right before the event. To find the proper press contact, follow political stories in your local paper and see who writes them.

One last note: do NOT do anything illegal, including graffiti!

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