Marek Třešňák, graduate, Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre, Department of Authorial Creativity and Pedagogy, DAMU

The trajectories of our life and career journeys can be straightforward, or they can be convoluted, with many sharp turns, nooks and crannies, and detours along the way. The changes and challenges that life has in store for us can be great. What matters most is that they eventually lead to a happy and fulfilled life – and not just in career terms. The following stories of personalities from among AMU graduates illustrate this statement.
Marek Třešňák currently works as a psychotherapist in Massachusetts and is also interested in ecstatic dance. In the future, he would like to set up a retreat centre that would bring therapeutical approaches and healing dance together. He also wants to focus more on music. How did his life and career trajectory take him from Prague’s DAMU all the way to the United States? “I initially studied puppets and alternative theatre, and having completed my bachelor’s degree, I studied authorial creativity with Professor Vyskočil. On top of that, I also attended subjects for drama education,” remembers Marek who gradually started to focus on theatre with children, from the youngest to adolescents. That eventually got him his camp counsellor job in the US. “I worked as a counsellor in a camp with children with various disabilities. Those were mostly learning disorders, from various attention disorders to behaviour disorders and Asperger syndrome,” says Marek. He pursued theatre activities with the children, shot videos with them, and so on. He spent three years doing this in America and was offered work with autistic children. “I worked with them for five years while studying for a master’s degree in psychology,” says the psychotherapist who has been living in the USA for 22 years. “DAMU enriched me primarily in terms of human capital. I met amazingly creative people among both schoolmates and teachers. Just remember Messrs Vyskočil, Krobot, and Lébl, or Ms Fryntová… Those were some wonderful encounters,” Marek remembers, adding that the encounter with Professor Vyskočil’s dialogical acting was pivotal for his psychotherapy work later on. “Through that, he taught us ‘embodiment’, so to speak – being ‘in the body’, getting out of the head, and relating to oneself. Dialogical acting is a form of improvisation where you improvise with yourself, with your inner partners, in front of others,” he explains, noting that theatre to him was always interesting as a form of therapy rather than in terms of the actual performance. “The improvisations were actually an amazing form of self-development,” he says. Marek has his own therapist practice today and works with adults. In addition, he organises ecstatic dance sessions. “Again, the principal purpose of these dancing events, which take place with no intoxicants whatsoever, is to get into your own body, leave your thinking behind, and unite with yourself and with other dancers on an emotional level. It is actually a specific form of group therapy,” he explains. What does Marek think of the fact that he focuses on multiple subjects and careers at once? “It’s amazing. Thanks to that, I got to experience many different worlds, communities, and approaches to life. The variety is incredible and I am immensely grateful for it,” concludes Marek.

6. September 2023