ParaTheatrical ReSearch History
Antero Alli, founder/director

"Orphans of Delirium" (2004; Berkeley and San Francisco;
click image for info)

1977-1988; Discovery & Development
Berkeley CA & Petaluma CA, Boulder CO

Berkeley 1977. Inspired by the Paratheatre of Jerzy Grotowski (his book, "Towards a Poor Theatre" and film document, Akropolis"), I was motivated to develop my own paratheatrical medium combining methods of physical theatre, mime, dance, Zazen meditation . I chose to define this new medium within an asocial context where participants bypassed social considerations and motives for meeting, in lieu of arousing more heightened creative states. Neither antisocial nor social, this asocial approach liberated a greater freedom to explore and express the internal landscape. Unbeknownst to me at the time, these first eleven years of discovery and development were also laying down the foundation of a life's work.

Click this for more on early influences of this work.
Click this for a list of the theatrical productions and
paratheatrical projects staged 1977 and 1988.

1988-2015; Acceleration & Consolidation
Seattle WA & Berkeley CA

Eleven years after its 1977 genesis in Berkeley, I relocated to Seattle WA and continued presenting non-performance workshops and labs while directing and producing five productions of performance rituals ("Crossing the Water" 1989, "Animamundi" 1990, "Requiem for a Friend" 1991, "Mass of the Iconoclasts" 1992, and "Hungry Ghosts" 1997). Two video documents were also produced during this period ("Archaic Community" and "Requiem for a Friend" by the poet Rilke) of chiefly private group work. After the sudden death of my young daughter in late 1992, I took a four-year break from this paratheatrical work to focus on my work as editor of TALKING RAVEN QUARTERLY while making videopoems and completing my first feature art film, "The Drivetime" (1995; 86 min.).

In 1996, I returned to Berkeley with my new wife Sylvi and over the next nineteen years we conducted and participated in over fifty non-performance Labs, all of which met two nights a week for 8-12 weeks at a time. During this period, the fundamental methods of this paratheatre medium accelerated and consolidated into a cohesive ritual technology. Three video documents were produced ("Crux" 199; and "Orphans of Delirium" 2004; and "dreambody/earthbody" 2012), along with four public performance works ("Hungry Ghosts of Albion" 1999; "Orphans of Delirium" 2004; "Songs as Vehicles" 2004; and "Requiem For a Friend" 2005). This 19-year era provided a highly fertile ground for the creation of intermedia performance works that we produced after relocating to Portland, Oregon in late 2015.


"Bardoville" (May 2017); Portland OR -- click image for info

2016; Fruition; Ritual into Theatre
Portland OR

Soon after arriving in Portland, we led two non-performance training Labs that magnetized a small core group motivated towards performance. Between December 2016 and December 2018, this group morphed (new members joined, some dropped out) through five separate intermedia physical theatre works staged at PerformanceWorks NW. Each of these productions were preceded by a 10-week workshop (Lab) where the productions were developed combining ritual dynamics, vocal incantations, improvised and composed music & songs, video, and great poetry to explore the metaphysical and symbolic dimensions of human experience. We didn't do social or political or morality issues or themes, nor did we perform conventional stage plays. Our aim was always to incite visceral and spiritual resonances in the audience towards an insurrection of the Poetic Imagination from its deep cultural slumber.

"A Turbulence of Muses" (Dec. 2016 performance; Portland OR; click image)

2016 -2018; Intermedia Performance Rituals
Portland OR

Our debut, "A Turbulence of Muses" a symbolist ritual (poetry by Arthur Rimbaud) workshopped over ten weeks that premiered December 2-4, 2016. In the "2-Faced Clowns Lab", we explored personal and collective hypocrisy as a foundation for the extreme characters featured in "Bardoville" (poetry by Charles Bukowski) with vocal creations by Sylvi Alli and E.V.E. (premiered May 12-14 of 2017 to critical acclaim from Oregon ArtsWatch). Our Dec 1-3, 2017 production, "Soror Mystica: Ritual Invocation of the Anima" (poetry by Hilda Doolittle) was developed during the Alchemy Lab. Music was improvised on site by Sylvi ("Soror Mystica" also earned critical acclaim from Oregon ArtsWatch). Our next production, "Fallen Monsters" (poetry by William Blake), evolved in the Contract Lab before its May 11-13, 2018 premiere. Our fifth production, "Escape from Chapel Perilous!" (poetry by Sylvia Plath) came together during the Labyrinth Lab and premiered November 29th, 30th, Dec. 1 & 2, 2018. All productions and Labs commenced at PerformanceWorks NW.

CLICK THIS to watch video documents of our past five productions
and other videos of paratheatrical processes

"Escape from Chapel Perilous" (Dec 2018); Portland OR - click image for details

2019-20, the end of an era; new book
Portland OR

In early 2019, Sylvi and I chose to bypass our usual May production schedule to focus on developing and sharpening our paratheatrical craft in two private, non-performance ritual labs -- starting March 10th with the 8 week Dreaming Ritual Lab and then over the summer of 2019, in the 8-week Muses Lab. Sometime in July, I realized the talent and skill levels in our current group could no longer meet the demands of future ParaTheatrical ReSearch productions. We went as far as we could go without repeating ourselves and rehashing what we already knew how to do. On September 21st, 2019, Sylvi and I made the tough decision to suspend all performances, Labs and weekend intensives until further notice. It was time to rethink and re-set our relationship with the Paratheatrical.

Withdrawal from public performance and group work has synchronized well with the Covid-19 pandemic. During this Big Downtime, I wrote a paratheatre book, STATE OF EMERGENCE: Experiments in Group Ritual Dynamics, updating and distilling the last seventeen years of paratheatre work (since the 2003 publication of "Towards an Archeology of the Soul"). We look forward to future collaborations in experimental intermedia theatre (incorporating ritual, original film, and live music).

- Antero Alli, director
January 2021. Portland OR.