and a Brief History Before the End of an Era
This page updated September 9th, 2019.
Artistic Director & Paratheatre Training
Between 1970 and 1977, Antero performed and taught Mime Theatre (training by Keith Berger of the American Mime Theatre, NYC). In 1977, he encountered the Paratheatre of Jerzy Grotowski which inspired him to start developing his own paratheatre medium -- as documented in his book, "Towards an Archeology of the Soul" (Vertical Pool, 2003), in numerous video documents (1991-2018), and by Nicoletta Isar, Professor at the Institute of Art History, Copenhagen University. Between 1975 and 2005, Antero wrote, directed, and performed in numerous experimental theatre productions. Between 2005 and 2015, Antero stopped creating theatre to write and direct a series of feature-length art films -- including "The Greater Circulation", a critically acclaimed cinematic treatment of poet Rainer Maria Rilke's "Requiem for a Friend" and "The Invisible Forest", a tribute to French Surrealist, Antonin Artaud. During his filmmaking era, his group paratheatre work went underground in a series of private, non-performance oriented ritual labs. Between 2016 and 2018, Antero and his wife, performer/singer Sylvi Alli, developed and staged five original intermedia works of ritual-based physical theatre in Portland Oregon.
PERFORMANCE & PRODUCTION HISTORY
Music Director & Voice Training
After extensive training in classical piano, Sylvi turned to painting and between 1976-93, her art was shown in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. In 1989, she began her journey into ambient/industrial electronic music and in 1995, she started singing. These elements soon combined in the development of soundtracks for dance, theatre and cinema projects. Sylvi has scored the songs and music for most of Antero's films & theatre since 1989. In 1996, she starred in "Lily in Limbo", a 27-minute poetry film. Her music CDs include "Too Near the Ghosts", "Dream of the Blue Moth", "Under a Shipwrecked Moon", "A Hundred Birds", "Vessel", "Flamingos" and "The Book of Jane". She has acted in many of her husband's films and performed in their paratheatrical productions. Her deep background in ParaTheatre (since 1996) has informed her unique "embodied voice" approach to singing through movement. She is the Music Director and Vocal Instructor at ParaTheatrical ReSearch PDX.
SYLVI'S MUSIC CDS
MUSIC ON SOUNDCLOUD
SYLVI on "EMBODIED VOICE" work
~ A Brief History before the End of an Era ~
Seattle WA and Berkeley CA; 1988-2015
Seattle WA; 1988-1996. Eleven years after its 1977 genesis in Berkeley CA, I continued my paratheatrical research in Seattle, directing and producing four performance ritual works, ("Crossing the Water", "Animamundi", "Requiem for a Friend", and "Mass of the Iconoclasts") plus two video documents ("Archaic Community" and "Requiem for a Friend" by the poet Rilke) and a series of non-performance ritual Labs. (Click this for earlier paratheatrical processes and theatre projects produced between 1975 and 1983 in Berkeley, Carmel, Petaluma, and Mendocino CA).
Berkeley CA; 1998-2015. Over the next eighteen years, Sylvi joined me in a series of non-performance Labs (8-10 week workshops) where the fundamental methods of this medium were applied and tested many, many times over. Throughout this primarily private period, three paratheatre video documents were produced ("Crux" 1999; "Orphans of Delirium" 2004; "dreambody/earthbody" 2012), along with four public performance works ("Hungry Ghosts of Albion" 1999; "Orphans of Delirium" 2004; "Songs as Vehicles" 2004; "Requiem For a Friend" 2005). This 18-year era established a rich foundation for future Paratheatre work as a performative vehicle after we relocated to Portland, Oregon in late 2015.
Portland OR; ritual-based physical theatre.
Portland OR; 2016. Soon after arriving, we presented 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 performances were developed. All five productions combined ritual dynamics, vocal incantations, improvised and composed music & songs, film, 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 to arouse the Poetic Imagination from its deep cultural slumber.
The Portland productions. 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 and final production, "Escape from Chapel Perilous!" (poetry by Sylvia Plath) came together during the Labyrinth Lab and premiered November 29th, 30th, Dec. 1 & 2, 2018.
CLICK THIS to watch video documents of our past five productions
and other videos of non-performance paratheatrical processes
end of an era
In early 2019, Sylvi and I chose to bypass our usual May production schedule to focus on elevating paratheatre 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 that the talent and skill levels in our current group coiuld not meet the demands of future paratheatrical productions. I chose to discontinue all productions, 8-week "Labs" and weekend intensives after September 2019, Why? A complex question with no simple answers. Perhaps we went as far as we could go without repeating ourselves or rehashing what we already knew how to do. This ending felt right, it felt like the right thing to do rather than fade away by repeating ourselves.
Though my group Paratheatre Lab facilitation and paratheatrical productions have ended, it does not mean this work process has to end. This Paratheatre medium can be tested and practiced by anyone with an abiding commitment to experiment with its many trigger methods. Ten Paratheatre video documents produced between 1991 and 2018 offer vivid examples of group work in both non-performance and performance modes. Our paratheatre workbook, "Towards an Archeology of the Soul", is also available for purchase. Click this for tips and guidelines on Paratheatre Lab facilitation.
In the wake of these major changes, Sylvi and I have redirected our talents, passions, and skills into recording and performing our music and developing new works for cinema (these new projects will be posted at Vertical Pool). I may return to creating new works of experimental theatre, though not in the paratheatrical vein. We remain deeply grateful to everyone who joined us on this extraordinary journey (we know who we are) culminating in a 42-year era of truly astonishing paratheatrical research.
- Antero and Sylvi Alli
Antero Alli at: email@example.com
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