Experimental Theatre
"Towards a Visceral Embodiment of the Poetic Imagination"
Vision statement © 2016/17 Antero Alli


The true purpose of the theatre is to create Myths, to express life
in its immense universal aspect, and from that life to extract images
in which we find pleasure in discovering ourselves
.
- Antonin Artaud


from "Orphans of Delirium" (performance; 2004, San Francisco CA)

Experimental; a specific word carrying nonspecific meaning. What is really meant by experimental? Is it some rebellion against tradition ? Or some wild and crazy production rife with self-indulgence and assaults on the audience ? Or is it some art form or type of music or a paniting that's simply too obscure to understand ? When I hear the word "experimental", I want to know the specific experiment that's being conducted. If there's no experiment taking place, it's not experimental to me. Though an artistic production or music recital may be called "experimental", without an active experiment taking place I don't believe it's experimental. According to this definition, I am an Experimentalist.

In 1977, I began developing a medium of Paratheatre inspired by the work of Polish theatre genius Jerzy Grotowski (in Louis Malle's film, "My Dinner with Andre", Andre Gregory talks constantly of Grotowski's "paratheatre"). Over the last four decades, I've trained hundreds of actors, dancers, singers, and non-performers alike in Paratheatre methods with the aim of increasing access to the internal landscape -- of forces, images, and emotions innate to the body itself -- and its expression through movement, gesture, sound, and characterizations -- in a kind of archeology of the soul. Most of this Paratheatre group work happened in private, without an audience, in a non-performance approach to learning the methods of the training process (between 1977 and 2015, only a dozen paratheatrical performance works were produced).

 


from "dreambody/earthbody" (2012 Lab/Video; Berkeley)

Between 1993 and 2015 (while continuing my paratheatre work with groups), I immersed myself in nonstop film production -- writing, directing, shooting and producing thirteen feature-length art films (all screened publicly and reviewed by film critics). Though the stories and characters changed with each film, the experiment remained the same: insurrection of the Poetic Imagination. It's now clear to me how a healthy active imagination nurtures that ineffable presence we call soul. A vital and supple imagination empowers us to create our own images, a critical attribute in this hyper-media era bombarding our psyches with prefabricated images from advertising geniuses and mass media moguls. Oversaturaton of images we did not create ourselves acts as a force of oppression to our own imagination. How can I sustain imagination and the soul it enlivens? Imagination death precedes death of soul!

 


from "The Invisible Forest" (film; 2008; 105 min.)

In October of 2015, I quit filmmaking and relocated to Portland to create experimental theatre with my wife, the singer/composer Sylvi Alli. We staged a series of Workshops (Labs) to train dancers, ritualists, actors, performers and non-performers alike in Paratheatre methods in hopes of finding resonant individuals to help develop and perform new works of experimental theatre (incorporating ritual, poetic text, music & song, video/film) directed by myself with musical direction by Sylvi. The big picture vision guiding eveything we have done so far and will do: the insurrection, and visceral embodiment, of the Poetic Imagination.

These early efforts met with success. Our first Portland production, "A Turbulence of Muses" a symbolist ritual (text by Arthur Rimbaud) came to fruition in the Muses Lab and premiered December 2-4 2016 at Performance Works NW. The "2-Faced Clowns Lab" explored personal and collective hypocrisy as a resource for developing characters in "Bardoville" (text by Charles Bukowski; vocal creations by Sylvi and E.V.E.) that premiered May 12-14 of 2017 to critical acclaim. Our next production, "Soror Mystica: Ritual Invocation of the Anima", will be workshopped in the Alchemy Lab and premiere Dec 1-3, 2017 (in collaboration with Sylvi and E.V.E. Poetic text by HD).
'


from "A Turbulence of Muses" (performance; 2016, Portland)

Rather than defining ourselves as a company of fixed players, we are more about developing new performance works with whomever might be best suited for the unique challenges and demands of each production. These conditions have turned ParaTheatrical ReSearch into a kind of molting group open to inquiries from performing artists across the spectrum of theatre, dance, music & song, ritual, clown, vaudeville, poetry. ParaTheatrical ReSearch is a non-union, self-funded collective.


- Antero Alli - Artistic Director
ParaTheatrical ReSearch PDX
noform@paratheatrical.com
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