Communitas was a Latin term that referred to the ideal of community and the spirit of coming together in solidarity. It was also the name of an experience-research project by the art collective TheAlbero. The project aimed to bring together people who wanted to rekindle their lost relationship with nature and experiment with rediscovering what it means to be a community through theater, rituals, and storytelling.
Communitas became a pulsing circle that opened and closed according to the people who arrived and left, providing an opportunity to rethink oneself in relation to others and nature. It was also a chance to live with an economy of giving, rather than an economy of debt, and an invitation to network and dream together.
The project took place in two stages (June 14th to 22nd and July 5th to 13th) in Casalbordino, in the province of Chieti. The idea was born from the personal desire to find new ways of relating to each other and to nature. This led TheAlbero to leave the big city of Rome and move to a small village in Abruzzo to conduct workshops on permaculture, ecobuilding, theater, and community.
TheAlbero followed the Dragon Dreaming methodology, which involves creating a dream team to fully realize the group’s dreams. Dreams must die in order to be reborn as a collective dream. TheAlbero invited people to join Communitas as a collective dream-project. In the Communitas, art was re-appropriated as a source of transformation, liberation, and expression. Art was a creative celebration of life’s seasons, a rite for personal and collective regeneration, and a place of knowledge through the body, senses, and beauty.
During the seminar, through image theater and theater of the oppressed, representations of community and society were made visible. Physical theater allowed participants to enter into the experience of community as an “antistructure,” which, according to Turner, refers to the unstructured part of social bonds and solidary, simplicity, and spontaneity. In contrast, the structured part refers to institutions, hierarchies, and the organization of society. The forum theater staged the conflicts present in societies and communities, offering an opportunity to explore possible changes.
Finally, on June 21st, on the occasion of the solstice, and on July 12th, on the occasion of the full moon, a performance ritual was held in Communitas.