(plus a brief video clip of a rehearsal)
antero alli

William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age (1800 to 1850). During his adult life, he was dismissed as a lunatic and endured countless rejections and betrayals from the local culture and society that forced him into isolation and depression. Yet he never stopped creating... art, poetry, and the illuminated manuscripts that combined both into a new art form. At the time of his death, his illuminated book, "SONGS OF INNOCENCE & EXPERIENCE" (published when he was 27 years) had sold only 30 copies throughout his lifetime! And yet he still kept creating!

"FALLEN MONSTERS" celebrates the resiliency of the Creative Spirit, in Blake and in all committed artists, to survive the onslaughts of trauma and other attempts to oppress its joy of expression. William Blake's life, his visionary art and his poems inspired the creation of our rituals to explore and embody these processes. These rituals were developed over a 10-week workshop dedicated to exposing patterns of oppression to the creative spirit by threats of shaming, blaming, ridicule, abuse, and judgmentalism on the self &/or on others. Once exposed, we defused these threats by earning enough trust between the Child and the Adult functions of the Self - an internal contract - applied to the creation of Fallen Monsters. We also created monster masks inspired by how we, as the Child, responded to Adult messages of oppression, masks that also appear in the production.

My wife and creative partner Sylvi chose six poems (songs) from Blake's Innocence & Experience collection and set them to melodies she discovered and developed. I downloaded twenty-five images of Blake's paintings into my i-Movie editing program to create a film collage, projected onto and behind Sylvi while she sings her songs. For my role as the sinister Voice of Oppression, I am verbalizing a series of "trigger phrases" (unseen and amplified) spoken from behind the audience -- these are negative messages we've all heard from our parents, our teachers, schoolyard bullies, the workplace, the world. Meanwhile, we see seven children at play under the influence of Blake's songs of joy and the punishing messages of dreary adulthood. What I hope we can achieve here is to show a spectrum of vital responses to oppression towards aligning with the eternal delight of creation.

Excerpt from rehearsals for "FALLEN MONSTERS (April 15, 2018)

Child of Sorrow, Child of Joy, Children Everywhere
Fear the Monsters They are Secretly Afraid of Becoming,
Seeking Protection from the Fear, not the Monsters
Who Carry the Torch that Ignites the World.