About the Book:
The central thesis of the book is that over the course of a performing process - which involves the performance itself but also training, the preparation of a role, getting ready for the performance - a performer can undergo a thorough mental and spiritual transformation. It begins with a temporary distancing from the performer’s I, as a part of the subject which is identified by our thoughts and emotions, with an image we have of ourselves as a defined, fixed, and autonomous subject. Abandoning a discursive way of thinking, characterized by this aspect of the subject, and developing an intuitive approach to oneself and the world, a performer strengthens his experience of self and his own body, as well as of his surroundings. That process leads to elimination of many binary oppositions that exist within an individual (body-mind/emotions), and in his relation to the world (I-Others). By overcoming these dualisms, performer can gain an experience of a “true Self” as the experience of a psychological and spiritual unity and totality.
What does this process of distancing from I mechanisms and approaching the experience of Self actually mean in the performing practice? Firstly, it means overcoming the disunity within a performer, who develops an ability to experience his body, mind and emotions and move them in a fluid unity; then, it means overcoming the disunity typical of a performing act itself: performer and role, performer and partner, performer and audience, all with an intention to achieve an authentic stage presence. This transformation is achieved by preference given to certain general performing principles, such as intuitive thinking, inner silence, concentration techniques, artistic passivity, etc. These principles make it possible to ne “in” a role, to achieve an unhindered flow of performing activity and a heightened state of presence. Although these processes are not inherent exclusively to aesthetic experience of performance but to numerous psychological and spiritual practices as well, they are significantly amplified through performing act, given the fact that the “material” of a performance is the body and the being of a performer, and that the act is achieved as a shared, mutual, energetically powerful experience between performer and audience.
More generally put, the practice of performing arts can be understood as a path of self-development which leads to resolving many disunities within man, as well as his distance from his close ones and from the world.
Tina Perić has obtained her BA at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, and in Padua, Italy. She obtained her MA in Art and Media Theory at the University of Arts in Belgrade, and her PhD in Performing Studies at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade.
She does research and translation, publishes works in the field of culture and performing arts in Serbia and abroad.
She is an active participant in various theatre, dance and music events, workshops, and festivals. She has been doing empirical research in various psychological and spiritual practices for two decades.
BOOK COVER: Stevo Mandić