This technique was developed in England by Julia Barclay and her group Apocryphal Theatre. It deals with stereotypes and can be used with small or large groups. The form here uses just text, but other layers can be added in using sounds, gestures and movements.
  1. Each person writes down 5 clichés, based on the issues of class, gender, race, religion, and then something else of their choosing. A group of 4 or 5 people volunteers to go first. They are the Actors, and the other participants form the Audience.
  2. The Actors stand in a line and state their clichés in turn, first to themselves, then to each other, then to the Audience, and finally to "The Grid"—the system and space in which these clichés exist (if that's too obtuse, think of performing to The Grid as "not performing to yourself, your fellow Actors or the Audience). 
  3. Once all clichés have been performed in all of these ways, the Actors then move about the space, stating any of these clichés—their own or those of their fellow actors—in any order, repeating ones that they heard others say or stringing two or more together. For this part, each clichés is said in its entirety, without any change to its wording.
  4. From here, the actors fall "Off The Grid" by cutting and pasting words from these clichés to make new (often hilarious) phrases.
  5. Debrief, with the Audience sharing their experiences, followed by the Actors sharing theirs before the next group talks the stage.
Historical Note: Barclay adapted this Cut-Up technique from Beat artist/poets Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs who would type up pages of text, and then cut and paste them to create new words and phrases that went beyond the confines of conventional language (a.k.a. "The Grid"). Decades before the Beats, Dada poets and Surrealist artists were doing similar things with words and images via collaging and "exquisite corpse" experiments. Contemporary to the Beats, cut-ups have been used in experimental music and film, and more recently in the "versioning" of dub reggae and sampling in hip hop, creating awesome breakthroughs in the sorts of sounds we listen to and images we see. As Burroughs put it, "When you cut into the present, the future leaks out." With regards to theatre and dismantling oppression, Augusto Boal adds, "Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it."

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