no-form in paratheatre


On Cultivating Intimacy with Void
© 1977-2019 Antero Alli

I am nothing.
I shall always be nothing.
I cannot want to be anything.
But I have in me all the dreams of the world.
- Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)
(beloved poet of Portugal)


No-Form, as a term and what it represents, is borrowed from Buddhist Zazen meditation. However, unlike traditional Zazen sitting meditation, in this paratheatre medium, No-Form is practiced in a standing position. No-Form in paratheatre is not pursued as any spiritual path to enlightenment or as any doctrine of samadhi. No-Form acts as a bridge between dream and form, conscious ego and the internal landscape of the Subconscious. No-Form is applied in paratheatre to induce enough internal receptivity to engage vital currents, impulses, and autonomous forces innate to the Body as a movement resource. No-Form is also implemented after each engagement of energies to discharge and release our attachment to these forces. Though No-Form cannot really be taught, we have discovered certain inner and outer actions to be conducive to the experience:


Stand in any way that supports vertical rest -- using minimal effort to keep standing; standing at rest. The following physical adjustments can increase support and balance: 1) unlock the knees 2) widen the stance 3) drop the pelvis 4) let the spine drop, relaxed and suspended 5) focus on the exhale and allow the inhale to occur as a reflex and 6) eyes shut or open as a slit to minimize external stimuli.

Once the outer actions of the physical stance are established, the following internal adjustments can support the inner action of No-Form: 1) withdraw attention from the external environment and reconnect attention within 2) relax the desire to control the outcome of the experience 3) relax the desire to control 4) find your anchor or comfort at being nothing and 6) be nothing.


From this state of internal receptivity we can begin to detect and allow the body's innate and autonomous forces to surface and act on us if we can yield to their influence and allow their internal impulses and forces to move us. This can happen by letting go of trying to determine the outcome and instead, allowing the energy to dictate the direction and outcome of our movement, sound, and gesture. The deeper our receptivity, the deeper our experience of the forces impressing us. This initial stage of receptivity and engagement of forces represents the "charging" function of No-Form and acts as a trance-induction device.

The second function of No-Form involves discharging whatever forces were engaged. Returning to No-Form after engaging internal forces allows us to release our attachment and identification with them. In this way, the discharging action of
No-Form acts as a trance-dispersion device. By returning to No-Form after each ritual engagement of energies, we intentionally break that trance and restore our receptivity - we return to being nothing or, nobody but ourselves. Returning to No-Form minimizes ego identification with the psyche's unconscious contents. These two functions of No-Form -- charging and discharging -- occurs by setting apart time before and after each ritual immersion to stand in No-Form.

First, we encounter the Void. Then comes different reactions and resistances to the Void. With persistence, there can emerge a friendlier relationship with the Void until, at some unpredictable juncture all separation between self and Void dissolve and we are left with an ineffable experience of being an expression of the Void -- the potential state where all forms emerge and are born in perpetua. No-Form practice represents the crux of this Paratheatre medium. Until it can be experienced, no work of much value can occur beyond a kind of improvisatory play-acting. Though theatrical improvisation and play-acting have their place and can be fun and entertaining, paratheatre it is not.

"The Shifting Contexts of Void Space"
My Personal Journey by Antero Alli (2016)

there is nothing to a void



BE NOTHING. The default dominator culture, and its bastard offspring celebrity subculture, invests high status on becoming somebody while shaming the idea of being a nobody...a nothing! However, as all self-governing bodies eventually realize, real power (not control), real freedom (not ego-independence) and real creativity (not consumerism) stems from intimacy with the formless, invisible sources -- the fertile void -- behind all palpable, visible and manifest effects. - Antero Alli

"dreambody/earthbody" Paratheatre video document
the entire video from which the "No-Form" clip was excerpted

Paratheatre Trigger Methods
Inner & Outer Actions complied by Antero

Paratheatre-related articles
by Antero Alli and others

"State of Emergence"
a paratheatre manifesto

ParaTheatrical ReSearch Site Map