What I mean by theater comes in a lot of forms here. First off the documentary aspect is basically dropped. There's no narrative justification for the cameras and the plotline fits well within established structures rather then going after a documentary things will happen structure. That leaves the film open to talking about its own artifice as Borat deals with the impossibility of his own purpose in a world where he's well known. The film focuses in on this reverse the flows I mentioned earlier so now we are in a purely fictional world, how Kazakhstan is represented here without real people unlike in the first movie, that reality imposes upon until it gets to be too much. The world disrupts the intended story discombobulating Borat's understanding of a Borat movie much like how the real world has had to adjust meaning with the revelations being forced onto our fictional character in a way that highlights America's standing as one of the world's few true empires.
One of the most fun games the movie plays is in the question of staging. Many of the scenes in the film is reconfigured from the original 'what a maroon' type of gag to a far more interesting how much are these people in on the gag. It keeps the film spritely and allows for some real shocks.
The movie was clearly intended to be more of the same at first with the southern ball and sugar baby scenes playing basically how they would have in the original film, but as the plague forces its way into the film you can see Baron Cohen steer the ship in a whole new direction with additional themes. It clearly became a necessary motivator which doubtlessly improved upon the end product. An interesting thing the film asks of the audience is to set up a timeline of the filming of certain scenes in the plagued timeline in order to understand where everyone's head was during filming. Less a chore this makes many of the jokes significantly funnier while also adding to the scenes of pathos. The ball and chain sequence probably was intended to be just absurd and uncomfortable, but it becomes the fulcrum of the film's switch into just how bizarre reality has become and the need for empathy as a cure. It's a shocking scene for its quietness and lack of obvious shock value.
That also brings up the film's great addition of Maria Bakalova who just runs away with the film starting off as just some sort of slime monster before becoming the perfect example of teenaged rebellion: Tomi Lahren. It's a wonderful, hilarious, and expansive performance which guarantees that regardless of what direction the film went in it would have been hilarious. In particular her role in the final act as a catalyst for restructuring Kazakh society and mirroring America's youth based twitter movements is a perfect shower of cold water. What's interesting is in the film's message of generational power change doesn't really occur. Borat is largely as terrible as before, but with updated and 'worthy' targets like Karen and Trump that make it so that he can continue to not effect change upon himself which seems apropo for the Qannon folk that have been talked about so much in the thread. The issue isn't that they believe this wacky stuff, that's just a symptom of the disease, but that they can't deal with the idea of changing themselves which is something that can more universally be drawn (and I think the discussion of their humanity is an example of the twitter youth having to deal with this). I can understand why MZS and some in this thread view this as harrowing or dark as that message is an unpleasant truth to deal. We don't like changing and it's easier to other rather than assimilate everyone as part of this organ we call society.