Makupuni: could a theater children's interactive play provoke audience politicization?

Lorena de Oliveira Chagas*, Cristina Sá

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper examines the interactive theater play named “Makupuni,” which ran in Brazil from 2017 to 2018, counting a total audience of 2086 people. The play aimed to empower its viewers by using the same features expressed in the Theater of the Oppressed, only this time using technology and interactivity. The story’s play is about three children built in a factory on Makupuni Island. Their parents rejected them because they weren’t what they expected them to be. The script was freely inspired by Tim Burton’s book: “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy”, in which the psycho-social characteristics of children are physicalized in their bodies. Throughout the play, the audience faces moral and ethical issues, and their collective decision is mandatory for the play to go on. The entire narrative was created as a backdrop to address issues of technology and interactivity, along with the stimulation of critical observation and the production of consciousness in the audience, as used by the Theatre of the Oppressed.Throughout its three seasons, it was possible to detect some features about the audience’s reaction to the play; there were also significant clues about its mode of reception. This play raised and problematized new questions: can a play politicize its audience? How can we measure the level of engagement and politicization of an audience? This paper aims to contribute to creating a research design to address these questions. This contribution is supported by the insight of Makupuni’s creative process and reception data provided. The experience with this play-which we herein describe and analyze-explores the use of Theater of the Oppressed to empower and provoke critical thinking in spectators of interactive and technological plays, such as Makupuni.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 3rd International Conference on Digital Creation in Arts, Media and Technology
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Extended Realities, ARTeFACTo 2022
PublisherArtech International Association
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)979835031003
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
EventArtefacto 2022: 3rd International Conference On Digital Creation In Arts, Media And Technology - Emerging Extended Realities - , Macao
Duration: 24 Nov 202225 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings - 3rd International Conference on Digital Creation in Arts, Media and Technology: Emerging Extended Realities, ARTeFACTo 2022


ConferenceArtefacto 2022
Abbreviated titleArtefacto 2022 Macau


  • Audience politicization
  • Interaction design
  • Interactive theater
  • Theatre of the oppressed


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