Studio for Research on the Art of Acting, SloveniaTomi Janežič
I understand community as being an original instrument of survival. In my view, it is closely connected to the cardinal virtues – not as a moral category, but as an ancient survival strategy. Prudence, courage, temperance, justice, all have to do with the capacity of establishing a different relation to an immediate impulse/instinct. It’s not a coincidence that Plato speaks about it in The Republic, and talks about the character of a good city where this is agreed upon, or that Cicero writes, “True virtue can never be put in competition with private advantage. Thus nothing should be accounted useful or profitable if not strictly virtuous, and there ought to be no separation of the principles of virtue and expediency.”
Community is established on certain civic virtues. All virtues consist in taking into account something more important/valuable than the immediate fulfilment of an impulse. Basic agreements of societies, since the very beginning of humanity, have to do with the capacity to control one’s instinctual drives. This is how norms and taboos were established. As a means to help the individual and the collective in the most fundamental creative challenge that might be the foundation for all other creative acts. It has to do with the relation to actuality. To the possibility of transforming actuality. Of transforming the act. Cardinal virtues as survival strategies all represent a transformation of the act(-ual).
Meaning/fulfilment comes from outside. Knowledge of oneself comes from outside. We cannot know ourselves if there is no Other. We’re relational. We’re multitude. Our sense of singularity is a fundamental blind spot. Paradoxically, we can find ourselves and be true to ourselves only through others, we can become autonomous only through others. The challenge is how not to be lost in conformism. It is a question of the quality/maturity of a group/community.
Clear boundaries and agreements establish safety. Boundaries are boundaries of the game/fiction/extra-ordinarity. For as ordinary as groups may seem, they are – or can be – extra-ordinary: they can be a step out of life, a place of training/simulation/play for life. Alternatively, – as Otto Rank puts it: “Everything that is consoling in life… therapeutic in the broad sense – can only be illusional.“
A quality group/community is in this sense “illusional” and it is aware of creating this extra-ordinarity. There’s nothing bad in the word illusional as Rank uses it. As human beings – since the birth of our species – we need constantly to create illusions. The only way of not falling silent and open-mouthed confronting the world with the question “Why?” – as toddlers do when their world is fragmented with names of things – is to invent stories. Stories/illusions are a new connection of separate things that create a sense of meaning, a consolation.
A quality community creates a conscious illusion, for this illusion has its beneficial consequences in ordinarity. It is through revealing our vulnerabilities and powerlessness that we create meaningful relationships.
Therefore, it is the group/community – as I understand it, and it might seem paradoxical – that is not only an instrument for relations with others, but also a tool for self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and autonomy, ultimately for purpose in life.
We cannot conceive safety, security, social belonging, or even self-esteem, self-respect, self-confidence, or independence, freedom, without them. It is in giving oneself to something beyond oneself that man can find what we call meaning.
This being said, I consider Krušče creative center as a place to explore one’s creativity through a quality group experience. Krušče is a platform that combines in one processes usually separated. The need to explore, research, and question limits. The need to learn, grow, and experience something new. The need to create, to take risks, to compose new based on already known. The need to do all this in extra-ordinarity, that is – in a retreat, in a safe place (where you can fail without being punished for it) that feels like a creative home.
Tomi Janežič has obtained his degrees in theatre directing from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, and was later educated in Slovenia and abroad, particularly in the field of various acting techniques and psychodrama.
Janežič holds a post as a Full Professor of Theatre Directing at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television.
Studio for Research on the Art of Acting works as an institute for cultural activities devoted to artistic, educational, research, and residency activities in the field of acting. Studio holds most of its activities at the work center in Krušče, a small village near Cerknica, Slovenia. Since 1996, Studio has realized numerous international projects (theatre co-productions, research and educational programs, artistic exchanges and residencies) and has hosted a number of distinguished acting teachers, experts in psychodrama and artists from all over the world. Besides, importance is also given to the research and educational activities in psychodrama and psychotherapy.