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ANTERO ALLI wrote, directed, and performed in numerous experimental theatre works between 1975 and 2005 (see "Production History" below). His paratheatre work began in 1977 and is documented in his book, "Towards an Archeology of the Soul" (Vertical Pool, 2003), in four videos, and by Nicoletta Isar, Professor at the Institute of Art History, Copenhagen University. The experience of paratheatre has inspired Alli to write and direct a series of underground feature films (since 1993) including "The Greater Circulation" (2005; 93 min) a critically acclaimed cinematic treatment of poet Rainer Maria Rilke's "Requiem for a Friend" and "The Invisible Forest" (2008; 111 min) a docufiction exploring the radical ideas of French Surrealist playwright, Antonin Artaud. Antero conducts paratheatre labs each year in Berkeley California where he resides.
My earliest theatrical training came in 1970/71 from physical theatre artist Keith Berger (protege of Paul J. Curtis, American Mime Theatre, NYC) and at the Lee Strasborg Institute (1971-72; method acting with Peggy Feury in Hollywood). From 1972 to 1982, I taught mime theatre and performed a series of solo & group mime pieces. In 1976, I participated in a series of paratheatrical experiments directed by David Rosenbloom who was inspired by Polish theatre visionary, Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999). Between 1975 and 2005, I wrote, produced and directed numerous original works of theatre and/or paratheatre (see Production History section below).
THE GENESIS OF A PARATHEATRE MEDIUM
In 1977, I started developing my own paratheatre medium combining principles and techniques of physical theatre, dance, Zazen meditation, and voice/song to access the internal landscape within an asocial setting. Over the next thirty-plus years and three cities (Berkeley CA, Boulder CO, and Seattle WA), I worked with hundreds of individuals from all walks of life. Though I call this ongoing group work "paratheatrical research", I have no ambitions or pretense for emulating or replicating anything "Grotowski" or "Brook" or "Artaud". It is enough to continue learning from my own experiments and their bounty of new mistakes, corrections and insights.
PRIVACY, WILDERNESS, & FALLOW PERIODS
Most of my ongoing group work occurs in privacy (no audits or audience) at the Paratheatrical ReSearch workspace in Berkeley with occasional sojourns to wilderness settings. If and when this private work develops into something worth sharing, I begin structuring a performance vehicle in collaboration with the participants. Advancement in this medium necessitates fallow periods -- usually four to eight weeks between Labs -- where no paratheatre work occurs and when the lingering consequences of this dynamic process can find integration in daily life.
VALUES, ETHICS & PURPOSE
No established theatre company or tribal entity exists, nor are we a social group or a "cult" (and I am no "guru"). In addition to the many who participate in short-term labs, a core group of individuals come and go according to their own needs for working together in the next ritual lab, theatrical performance, or film/video project. Though no formal paratheatre dogma exists, the core values of integrity and autonomy define the ethos of this medium. Our overall purpose is to provide a safe space for developing individual talents and skills, within an asocial group ritual dynamic, towards greater access and expression of the internal landscape.
DOCUMENTATION, PUBLIC EVENTS, FILM PRODUCTION
Over three decades of non-performance oriented ritual labs, certain themes and directions have developed into public events, lectures, demonstrations, video screenings and public performance rituals (also see Production History section below). The techniques, principles, and rituals applied in this work are also documented in my workbook, "Towards an Archeology of the Soul" and in four video documents (video clips here). An audio CD, Songs as Vehicles (2005; 43 min.) was produced as a record of the 2004 Song As Vehicle lab.
In 1996 singer/composer Sylvi Alli and I established Vertical Pool Productions as a ParaTheatrical ReSearch affiliate to serve our ongoing artistic collaborations in video, film, and music production. Since 2000, paratheatrical processes have inspired and informed the music, story, and characters of six feature-length art films: Tragos (2000), Under a Shipwrecked Moon (2003), The Greater Circulation (2005), The Invisible Forest (2008) To Dream of Falling Upwards (2011) and Flamingos (2012).
In early 2008, I reached a personal crisis around the purpose of this paratheatre medium. Tracing it back in time, I realized this crisis started twenty-three years earlier during an initiatic encounter with Australian Aborigine (koori) elder Guboo Ted Thomas -- a meeting that upstaged my assumptions around the nature of dreams. Throughout 2008 and 2009, over four separate ritual labs, a recalibration of intent occured in the group workings of a "dreaming ritual" I discovered in 1986 -- a precise choreography borrowing kinetic properties recalled from nocturnal dreams (without interpretation or dream analysis).
THE MUSES ARCHETYPE
The two-year dreaming ritual project eventually laid the groundwork to the next direction: dialogue with the Muses archetype. The Spring 2010 Muses Lab proved revelatory and productive by inspiring the scripting and production of my 2011 feature movie, To Dream of Falling Upwards and Sylvi's 2010 music CD, Vessel. On the Winter Solstice 2010, we returned to this archetypal dialogue in the "Ritual Actions of the Muses" Lab to advance our research. This second Muses Lab explored the distilling actions of the creative process and set the course for my next feature fiction movie, Flamingos, (2012); click this for Muse Lab2 notes. On November 7th 2011, we returned to the third and final Lab in this series in the Muses Trinity Lab, a project that somehow dove-tailed back to the dreaming ritual. I have posted further notes (updated 12/12/2012) on the Muses dialogue here.
from "dreambody/earthbody" (2012)
DREAMBODY/EARTHBODY: THE VIDEO DOCUMENT
Between March 19th and April 30th, 2012, I entered production with seven paratheatre vets and newbies to film "dreambody/earthbody", as an experimental documentary presenting the prepatory stages and execution of the dreaming ritual (in solo and group contexts with participant interviews and re-enactments of my own dreams). The video premiered Nov 15th, 2012 at the ParaTheatrical ReSearch workspace in Berkeley (click above image for more information). "dreambody/earthbody" is now available on dvd.
ASOCIAL GROUP INTERPLAY
Since 2005, all ParaTheatrical ReSearch Labs emphasized the values of solitude, self-work, and internal sourcing with minimal group interaction. This seven-year hermetic era laid down a rich foundation for the next stage of asocial group interplay starting February 4th 2013 in the Interplay Lab and continuing in the Summer 2013 Lab. This interplay process is not the same as improvisation in the theatrical or dance usage of this term. Asocial interplay does not depend on external cues or the energy of others to spark or sustain interaction but starts with each individual's commitment to their internal vertical sources and its outward blossoming of presence, gesture, action, and interaction with others. How to interact with others while maintaining vertical integrity?
-- Antero Alli
Founder/Director, ParaTheatrical ReSearch
Antero Alli, writer/director/producer (unless otherwise noted)
Maria Rilke's "REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND"
Intermedia Performance Ritual incoporating Rilke's text (circa 2005)
Leah Kahn, Sylvi Alli, Felecia Faulkner, Paradox Pollack, Nick Walker, Lee Vogt, Antero Alli
A reprise of the 1990 paratheatrical treatment of Rilke's lyrical lament as a live performance
ritual which was filmed and incorporated into "Rilke's Requiem" a feature dv-film. Translated by
Stephen Mitchell. Music by Sean Blosl and Songs as Vehicles. ParaTheatrical ReSearch.
May 21, 22, 28, 29, 2005. Finnish Brotherhood Hall, Berkeley .
Winter Solstice Performance Ritual
Towards the embodiment of songs in a cross-cultural context
Ten vocal performers work for three months on one song each, chosen from their ancestral
culture, towards their ritualistic embodiment in solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, and
mass cacophonies. Performers and their ancestral sources: Lily Nova (France), Julian Simeon
(Philippines), Olga Kupriyanova (Bulgaria), Gary Belanoff (Russia), Antero Alli (Finland),
Sylvi Alli (Deep South, USA), Linda Rose (Sicily), JoJo Razor (Scotland), Robin Coomer
(Ireland), and Nick Walker (Autism). Dec. 20, 2004. Finnish Brotherhood Hall, Berkeley.
Audio document recorded (CD)
Paratheatrical performance rites incorporating Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"
An actor drifts through reveries of an absinthe binge that erupts in a bevy of ritualistic dreams
where aspects of his psyche materialize before him. PARADOX POLLACK, SERENE ZLOOF, ALASKA
YAMADA, BRIAN LIVINGSTON, NICK WALKER, GABRIEL, JULIAN SIMEON, DESMONDE DAISY, ADAM
PALERMO, JUSTIN PALERMO, JAKOB BOKULICH. Live music by SYLVI ALLI. Text also by Paradox
Pollack. Video document recorded. ParaTheatrical ReSearch. March 2004, Berkeley & SF
GHOSTS OF ALBION"
Two-act Intermedia Dream Play
Two lovers attempt to make a short film based on a monologue from Chekhov's "The Sea Gull."
When they sleep at night, the ghosts of William Blake and Isaac Newton appear in their dreams;
when Blake and Newton sleep, they dream the lovers awake. Meanwhile two mythic archetypes,
Anima and Daemon, intervene and orchestrate the dreamers into a ritual of mystical union.
Neil Howard, Dan Wilson, Gary Barth, Sylvia Burboeck, Nick Walker, Deanna Anderson.
With additional text by William Blake and Isaac Newton. Video document recorded.
Live music by SYLVI ALLI. ParaTheatrical ReSearch & Vertical Pool, May 1999, S.F.
from "Hungry Ghosts" (1998)
Two-act Intermedia Dream Play
with sean john walsh, Jennifer Pratt and Kevin Haggerty, Ed Byrne.
ParaTheatrical ReSearch workshop production; May 1998, Seattle WA
(Video document recorded)
"MASS OF THE ICONOCLASTS"
Winter Solstice performance ritual
with Stephen Pitts, Richard Bradshaw, Camille Hildebrandt, Steven Miller,
Gavin Greene, & others. Video document recorded. ParaTheatrical ReSearch;
Oct-Dec 1992, Masonic Temple, Seattle WA
"ARCHAIC COMMUNITY "
Paratheatre Experiment/Video Document
with Richard Bradshaw, Camille Hildebrandt, Steven Miller, Kenny Telesco,
Gavin Greene, Julian Simeon, Troy Skeels & others. Video document recorded.
Music by Sylvi Alli. ParaTheatrical ReSearch; Fall 1991, Masonic Temple Seattle WA
FOR A FRIEND"
Performance ritual incorporating poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
with Jadina Lilian, Sylvi Pickering, Camille Hildebrandt and Kia Sian; Kara Amundson, cello
Rilke's tribute to friend and artist, Paula Modersohn-Becker, in the wake of her sudden death
stemming from childbirth complications. Text by Rilke translated by Stephen Mitchell. Music by
Sylvi Alli. Video document recorded. ParaTheatrical ReSearch. Oct. 1990. Bell Gallery, Seattle.
"CROSSING THE WATER"
Performance ritual incorporating poetry of Sylvia Plath
Antero Alli, Camille Hildebrandt, Richard Bradshaw, Steven Miller, Gavin Green
(ParaTheatrical ReSearch; Spring 1990, Wonderful World of Art Gallery, Seattle)
Performance ritual inspired by the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice
Created & performed by Antero Alli & Camille Hildebrandt. Music by Sylvi Alli
(ParaTheatrical ReSearch; Autumn 1989, Victoria BC/Seattle/Portland/Berkeley/Santa Cruz)
Dreaming Phases for Lovers
a 2-act play based on archetypes of the "anima" and "animus"
Antero Alli, Leesanne Modine, Marc Sabin, Molly Dwyer, Julian Simeon,
Cedrus Monte. Directed w/Marc Sabin. Executive producer, Cathleen O'Connell.
Theatre 23. Jan/Feb. 1983 (Cinnabar Theatre, Petaluma; Studio Eremos,
S.F. Helen Schoeni Theatre in Mendocino)
Mimetic treatment of Robinson Jeffers' poetry
with Antero Alli, Jacob Shefa and Johanna Modisette.
Barbara Rose Shuler, recitalist; Peter Metcalf, cellist
(Point Blank Mime Troupe; Spring 1982, Carmel CA)
Two-act Alchemical Mystery Play
A writer's night dreams force a confrontation between his craft
and pending fatherhood. with Carole Swann, Harvey Wasserman,
Ben DiGregorio, Theresa Laferriere, Antero Alli.
(The Chamber Theatre Troupe; 1978, Berkeley).
OF INNOCENCE & EXPERIENCE"
Performance ritual utilizing William Blake's poetry
with Leslie Mahler, Antero Alli, Ben DiGregorio, Theresa Laferriere
(The Chamber Theatre Troupe; 1978, Berkeley)
Two-Act Play inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy" (utilizing choir)
In his dreams, a man unexpectedly discovers he has passed away and about to
be judged in his afterlife. with Antero Alli, Ben DiGregorio, Theresa Laferriere,
Sima Wolf, Terri Shell, David Cohen, John Rock (The Chamber Theatre Troupe;
November 1977, Berkeley/Crown Hall, Mendocino)
A 3-Act Poem Play by e.e.cummings
Paul Townsend, Antero Alli, Dan Risko, Sima Wolf, Mary Forcade
and many others (1976, Mendocino Art Center Theatre)
A Full-length Mime Play with Music and Accompanying Text
Seven mute characters portray aspects of one psyche interacting within
itself and and unravelling in the wake of a series of outside interruptions.
Antero Alli, Brian Wasserman, Julie B. Oak, Leigh Lightfoot, Sima Wolf.
Spring 1975, Berkeley; Mendocino Art Center Theatre)
Experimental theatre company living and working communally
in a downtown Oakland mansion. Performances included Jean Claude
Von Itallie's "The Serpent" and a theatrical/ritual treatment of sections
from "Tibetan Book of the Dead". With Dale Fast, Judith Kangar, Dean Webb,
Antero Alli, Bruce Sorensen, David Luddington & others. (1972-73, SF)
ANTERO ALLI, director/founder
P.O. Box 10144, Berkeley CA 94709 USA
voicemail: (510) 464-4640