participant stories
from those who have done this work
Contact me if you wish to share your story here.





Root (in performance)

2-Faced Clowns PDX (Spring 2017), ANCESTORS Lab PDX (Summer 2017)
ALCHEMY Lab PDX (Summer 2017), CONTRACT Lab PDX (Spring 2018)
CHAKRA Lab PDX (Summer 2018), LABYRINTH Lab PDX (Autumn 2018)
DREAMING RITUAL Lab PDX (Spring 2019), MUSES Lab PDX (Summer 2019)
plus the ParaTheatrical ReSearch peformance productions of " "Bardoville",
"Fallen Monsters", "Soror Mystica", "Escape from Chapel Perilous"
(2016-18)

Paratheater has played an integral role in my personal unfoldment and I cherish the two and a half years I spent regularly steeped in both it’s practice and performance. Leaning into the ritual structures provided me a sort of traction from which to jump, or really more like release myself, into the depths of the ever emerging Moment and its never-ending slew of mysterious material. Some of the most subtle, most profound and most ecstatic experiences of my life happened on that floor, and any words I find to describe them I’m sure are also destined for a floor. But I am moved to try.

I live with a sometimes convenient and sometimes pesky tendency to merge with the “soup” of the collective psychic field, and can struggle with differentiating myself from its undulations, and these practices, despite requiring a certain releasing of a sense of individuated self, paradoxically allowed me to locate the dynamic moving point of “me,” or, what comes through me as me, with more nuance and precision. In other words, the clarifying and dissolving practices of paratheater supported my growing sense of intimacy with the sensations and rhythms of my own point of emergence.

Repeating the rituals over time deepened this intimacy, even as it questioned, challenged and at times demolished whatever may have been built the time before. Paratheater helped me keep my house low to the ground and my garden soil churned. My internal empire-builder, the one who longed for the practices to lift me out of the mud of my own existence, was eternally disappointed with paratheater, though certainly never left out of the fun. In fact, learning to befriend and thereby source resistance, is still one of my favorite gems from the bottomless hole of this medium. Punctuating these forms with No Form allowed my body to experience a wisdom of both rhythm and foundational structure; listening as the energy recedes and returning to the darkness of the well if there is any desire for honest creative action and flow-through.

I now watch myself organically engage with this ritual technology in the ongoing ritual (and performance) of my life, cultivating receptivity as I do my strange dance in all the strange darkness, doing my best to navigate the penetrating structures of our time. To at least some fragile human degree, paratheater has supported me in the quest I didn’t even know I was on: Learning to withstand the deafening mist of the void while still finding my feet. All my thanks and love to Antero, Sylvi and most especially, to the incredible formless Mystery which animates and re-sources us again and again.
 

Root (fka Maple)
Portland, OR


 


Helia Rasti (in performance)

Weekend Intensive (Sept. 2018), LABYRINTH Lab (Autumn 2018)
"Escape from Chapel Perilous" - performance (Dec 2018),
DREAMING RITUAL Lab (Spring 2019),
MUSES Lab (Summer 2019)

My initial pull to paratheatre came from a desire to understand how theatre could be used to facilitate healing transformation. This stemmed from a practical curiosity as a student/practitioner of acupuncture, and also from a personal yearning to grow as an artist by engaging in creative work.

I was elated to find that the practice is one of radical freedom and cathartic release. I was invited to explore the sources of my obsessions, of my dreams, and of my life’s purpose — in short, to explore the very essence of my being.

Connecting to no-form and deepening my surrender to these sources allowed me to unwind and release entrenched psychic patterns, by bringing them into physical form. I learned to connect more fully with my heart, and to deepen my sense of intuition.

I’m deeply grateful for the experience and continue to draw from it in my clinical practice, which requires me to identify subtleties in Qi dynamic in order to achieve correct diagnosis and treatment.

Helia Rasti
Portland OR
info@heliarasti.com


 


Ed "Gensho" Welsh (in performance)

ZERO Lab (Spring 2016), MUSES Lab PDX (Autumn 2016)
ANCESTORS Lab (Summer 2017) CONTRACT Lab (Spring 2018)
LABYRINTH Lab
(Autumn 2018)
DREAMING RITUAL Lab (Spring 2019)
plus the ParaTheatrical ReSearch
performances of "Fallen Monsters" (May 2018)
,
and "Escape from Chapel Perilous" (Dec 2018)

This medium has opened me up to the possibility of an integrated ecstasy: a grounded, embodied experience of the internal landscape. Paratheatre labs have allowed me to "court" shocks, probing the range of vertical contacts. I am grateful to Antero and Sylvi for initiating me into this work. 

Opportunities to participate in performance rituals have led me into uncharted territory. I have found myself experiencing enhanced autonomy and have discovered a previously untapped capacity for creation.

Ed "Gensho" Welsh
Portland OR
edw@micromelody.net


 


Jogen Adam Salzberg

LABYRINTH Lab (Autumn 2018) DREAMING RITUAL Lab (Spring 2019),
MUSES Lab (Summer 2019),
"Escape from Chapel Perilous" performances
and two weekend intensives

I’m just a baby in this practice but I’ve been deeply impacted. As a Zen priest much of my life has even devoted to making the ego transparent and awareness spacious and receptive, for the sake of helping others find peace and tenderness in themselves. This Paratheatre work has some common ground to that and other practices I’ve done within Zen and Tantric Buddhism except it hits on something that is of particular precious import and resonance for me, that I’ve found nowhere else. Being = Art.  Universe as Expression, the fulfillment of my existence being the range and depth and intensity of embodiment available. For no reason other than itself.  In the Paratheatre work the transparency and spaciousness of no-form shapes forth as energies/ selves that delight, exhilarate, humiliate, sanctify and terrify - sometimes all in one session! In these rituals, magic has flirted and the sacred has visited in ways I never expect.

Paratheatre work is deepening my appreciation for the nuances of existence.  Sourcing Love, I’ve brought to light and felt more intensely my Virgoian Idealism around Love - fully present in the Innocence of that as well as the blushing revelation of it’s immaturity and call to be rounded out in my relationships. Serving Love’s deep agony, I let the ache of that vibrate my whole body and found wails coming forth from deep belly, found myself harrowed and enlivened being the servant and channel of that world-wound wail.. Surrendering to Earthbody, I’ve been in deeper relationship to the raw animalness of body, exposing and healing a tendency to numb out from high-saturation sensitivity in my flesh and muscle.  Connecting with what I love about the Dreambody, feeling the translucent colors of that source light up and move my being in so many different forms , my relationship to Dream and the Imaginal realms is much more open and  post-lab, I continue to experience a clearer and wider continuum between Dream and Awake.

Spontaneity, a life element that is at the heart of why I keep on eating and breathing, is a continual theme for me in this work.  I came in with the question about whether there truly is such a thing as spontaneity  or whether everything is just a recombination of previous habits, impressions and experiences.  Now I say: Spontaneity is real. At times I am animated beyond myself, beyond my history, beyond my fixed beliefs in this work. And I’ve found meaning and renewal in knowing I’m serving some cosmic imperative to give life to:  ? ? ? ? ? , as a channel and student and body for the Universe outgrowing small, encultured, pedestrian ideas of what my life is for.  Thanks, Antero and Sylvi. 

Jogen Adam Salzberg, Sensei
SolisLuna, Portland OR


 


Marianne Louise

BASICS Lab (Fall 2011), Dreambody/Earthbody Lab & Video (2012),
Sources Lab (Autumn 2012)
Interplay Lab (Spring 2013),
Interplay Lab 2 (Summer 2013) Muses Lab (Summer 2014)
,
Muses Lab (Summer 2015)

As an actor I found Paratheater because I wanted to live more fully in my body and break old habits. I wanted to stop pushing and performing. How could I expect to live in another character’s body and world if I was blocked in my own? So I explored and had success with Alexander Technique animal work, Afro-Brazilian Dance, Suzuki and Somatic Drama Therapy, but I was looking for even more freedom from my self-imposed physical and mental boundaries, and this is where Paratheater helped me let go and trust the unknown.

It helps that you don’t perform for an audience or show up to impress any one. In fact, it is a relief to experiment and get results that only matter to you and no one else. It’s not all about muscling through with your mind. It’s releasing the chatter and listening to what the body has to say. It speaks in movement, pictures, emotions, rhythms and so forth. It also accesses sources beyond one's mental scope and draws energy and stamina from outside oneself.

Marianne Louise
Mill Valley CA
marianneshinetherapy.com





Nick Walker (in performance)

Crux (Summer 1999), Dreaming Rituals (Winter 2000),
Anima/Animus (Spring 2001), Ancestors (Fall 2001),
Trinity (Summer 2002), Initiations (Winter 2003/04),
Song as Vehicle (Winter 2004), Techniques (Spring 2005),
Two-Faced Clown Lab
(Fall 2005)
Alchemy (Spring 2006),
Song and a Prayer (Winter 2006), Chakra Lab (Spring 2007)
Dreambody/Earthbody (Spring 2008), Dreaming Ritual (Winter 2008)
Theatre of Sources
(Summer 2010),
Advanced BASICS Lab (Autumn 2011)
Dreambody/Earthbody Lab & Video (2012)
Interplay Lab (Spring 2013)
Interplay Lab 2 (Summer 2013)
Ancestors' Lab (Fall 2013)
Trinity Lab (spring 2014),
Muses Lab (Summer 2014),
Characters Lab (Winter 2014/2015) Ritual Song Lab (Spring 2015),
Muses Lab (Summer 2015), plus the ParaTheatrical ReSearch
performances of "Orphans of Delirium" (2004), "Songs as Vehicles" (2004)
and "Requiem For a Friend" (2005)

I’ve been a regular participant in the work of Paratheatrical Research between 1999 and 2015. Long-term engagement with this work has been, and continues to be, an ongoing process of growth and transformation; a process of opening to, and integrating, the new and the long-lost, the hidden and the liminal, Self and Shadow, the archetypal and the transcendent.

In the Paratheatre labs, on the wooden floor with the other lab participants, I do the work of opening to these forces, these energies, these intelligences and potentials. I invite them to dance with me, or maybe they invite me to dance with them. I get to know them by allowing them to move me.

But that’s only where the work begins. The greater part of the work happens outside of the Paratheatre lab space, out in the rest of my life, as I integrate my lab experiences. Because each force with which I dance in the lab space poses a challenge to me: “Can you make room for me in your life? Can you make room for me in your in your psyche, in your everyday self-embodiment and self-concept, in your practice, in your creative work, in the ways you dance with others and with the world?”

A bold new gesture emerges in one of my dances in lab, and demands,
“Can you make a gesture this big and bold when you’re teaching in the college classroom?”

A deep song emerges from my belly in lab, and demands,
“Can you speak from this depth in your next public speaking engagement?”

A new rhythm emerges in my body in lab, drummed out on the floor with my hands and feet, and it lingers in my body and demands that I acquire a big drum, put it in my living room, and take up a daily drumming practice.

A profound spirit of love envelops me and moves me in lab, and demands,
“Can you embody this in your aikido practice? Can you transmit it to your aikido students?”

Waves of ecstatic laughter rush through me in lab, pour from me, rock my body, and demand,
“Can you dare to be a Fool now and again in your life, dare to surrender to impulse, to wonder,
to laughter, to spontaneous urges to dance, to sudden attacks of poetry?”

Nick Walker
Berkeley CA

aikiarts.com
neurocosmopolitanism.com


 


Sylvi Alli
(in performance)

Crux (Summer 1999), Dreaming Rituals (Winter 2000),
Anima/Animus (Spring 2001), Ancestors (Fall 2001),
Trinity (Summer 2002), Song as Vehicle (Winter 2004),
Techniques (Spring 2005), Alchemy (Spring 2006),
Song and a Prayer (Winter 2006), Chakra Lab (Spring 2007)
Dreambody/Earthbody (Spring 2008), Dreaming Ritual (Winter 2008)
Precision Lab (Summer 2009), Dreaming Ritual (Spring 2009),
Dreaming Ritual (Fall 2009), Muses Lab (Spring 2010),
Theatre of Sources (Summer 2010),
BASICS 1 Lab (Autumn 2010),
Muses Lab 2 (Winter 2010/11), Advanced Basics Lab (Fall 2011)
Muses Lab 3 (Winter 2011) Sources Lab (Autumn 2012)
Interplay Lab (Spring 2013), Interplay Lab 2 (Summer 2013)
Ancestors' Lab (Fall 2013) Trinity Lab (spring 2014)
Muses Lab (Summer 2014), Characters Lab (Winter 2014/15)
Ritual Song Lab (Spring 2015), Muses Lab (Summer 2015)

2-Faced Clowns PDX (Spring 2017),
ANCESTORS Lab PDX (Summer 2017)
ALCHEMY Lab PDX (Summer 2017), CONTRACT Lab PDX (Spring 2018)
CHAKRA Lab PDX (Summer 2018), LABYRINTH Lab PDX (Autumn 2018)
DREAMING RITUAL Lab PDX (Spring 2019), MUSES Lab PDX (Summer 2019)
plus the ParaTheatrical ReSearch peformance rituals: "A Turbulence of Muses",
"Bardoville", "Fallen Monsters", "Soror Mystica", "Escape from Chapel Perilous

(2016-18) and
"Songs as Vehicles" (2004) and "Requiem For a Friend" (2005)

Significants of change

2010. For the past ten years I have participated in Antero Alli's paratheatre ritual labs fairly consistently, and this work has had a profound impact upon my life. I acknowledge that I will never be able to communicate with words the places and miraculous encounters my psyche has traversed in the course of this work, but I will share some of the ways that participating in paratheatre has initiated change in me.  

Starting with my most recent immersion in the ritual work - The Alchemy Lab - I am emerging from this 3 month lab with a stronger grasp of "process", the continuing journey, replete with cycles: tending the seed, fruition, death, rebirth......the open-ended process of my own individual life. I have also become increasingly aware of the value of and my need for receptivity, in all aspects of my life - especially creative, relational, spiritual - and how this receptive state demands true stillness, as well as deeper listening. 

Overall, the paratheatre work has had an effect of breaking down my self-imposed boundaries, limitations, and fixed ideas. And this, in turn, has strongly affected the degree of self-consciousness that I move through life with. When I first began this work, my self-consciousness level was extremely high, but over the years, as my commitment to the work has deepened, I have experienced a lessening and, at times, a complete absence of self-consciousness. I have gained more freedom, especially in the area of expression - expression of energies, expression of self.  

Another way this work has strongly influenced my life is in the area of "not knowing". Where, at one time, I viewed "not knowing" as a huge problem, now this state of uncertainty, of not having a preconception of what lies ahead, has proven to be the very realm of magic, of creativity, of miracles, even.......

Everything I've mentioned here is tied in to what is at the crux of this work, letting go, emptying out - the practice of No Form - No Form Rules! 

Sylvi Alli
Portland OR
mbodyvox@gmail.com


 


Antero Alli (in performance)

Participated in &/or facilitated in all
ParaTheatrical ReSearch Labs since 1977.

Over forty years of doing and facilitating the group work, I have witnessed the metamorphosis of this medium and myself through many groups and through the many lab themes explored. Of all the facets of this work, No-Form practice has probably impacted me the most. After consistent No-Form practice, I no longer have any use for a self-image or being attached to any idea or image of myself. Though I am immersed in various activities which come with various titles - “artist”, "director", “ritualist”, “teacher”, “author”, "filmmaker" or "astrologer" - I no longer identify with any of them without feeling like an imposter. Who am I? My true identity dwells in silence and where I remain unknown to myself.

I have also been profoundly inspired by the high levels of commitment and autonomy demonstrated by those I have been priviledged to work with. Their shining integrity has embodied the value of this work as a spiritual practice. My artistic processes have also been deeply influenced. Certain visions erupting from certain rituals and their sources, specifically the Muses archetype, have inspired seed ideas for poems, screenplays, film projects, experimental theatre works and a few books.

Perhaps the most specific impact that continues in me has been this constellation of a holy trinity, three internal sources that make my life worth living: the Muses, verticality and No-Form. These three sources continue in me as a coherence that charges my existence with meaning and purpose.

Antero Alli
Portland OR
verticalsource@gmail.com


 


Julian Simeon (in performance)

Archaic Community Video (Winter 1991, Seattle), Crux Lab & Video
(Summer 1999), Dreaming Rituals (Winter 2000), Trinity (Summer 2002),
Initiations (Spring 2004), Song as Vehicle (Winter 2004),
Song and a Prayer (Winter 2006), Chakra Lab (Spring 2007)
Dreambody/Earthbody (Spring 2008), Muses Lab 3 (Winter 2011)
Dreambody/Earthbody Lab & Video (2012),
Muses Lab (Summer 2015)
Weekend Intensives (March 2019 and September 2019)

I first met Antero about 30 years ago. I was a graduate student in an innovative wilderness psychology program at Sonoma State University. I was working towards a minor in Theatre and was taking a mime class with solo stage actor, Fred Curchack. Antero substituted a few of the classes in Fred's absense. My body can still remember the first exercise this "X-Factor sub" had the class attempt. Our task was to find a "way" to move across the room and end the movement in a tableau. We did it over and over again. It was like wind sprints for aspiring ritual actors. I loved it.

As part of rehearsals Antero introduced a working modality he called Ritual Theatre (RT). I fondly recall that wilderness Professor Robert Greenway gave Antero a key to Steven's Hall so our RT group could access classroom space to work... sometimes starting at midnight. The intrigue of his work caught more than my attention. As a participant in the RT work I was able to access fleeting moments and insights that I had only experienced through work with ethnogens or out on a long wilderness trip. This drug free modality had me hooked. Hmmm... I thought. I like this work.

Working with Antero over the years, I have been in a few live ritual theatre performances, three or four video films, and numerous RT labs. I take breaks from the Work from time to time. Some longer than others. But when my Spirit yearns to worship and pray, then it is time for me to seek the next lab. Ritual Theatre is a vehicle which when worked at with intent and commitment can take one to places not accessible under "normal" conditions. I thank Antero Alli for his dedication to the Work. His Work. I am grateful to have met him and call him Friend.

Julian V. Simeon
Sebastapol CA
buhay1@hotmail.com




JoJo Razor

Song as Vehicle (Winter 2004), Techniques (Spring 2005),
Clown Lab (Winter 2005)
, Alchemy Lab (Spring 2006)
Song and a Prayer (Winter 2006) Chakra Lab (Spring 2007)
Dreambody/Earthbody (Spring 2008),
Ritual Song Lab (Spring 2015)

The greatest impact that Paratheatrical Research has had on my life started with the day of my first audition for the “Songs as Vehicles” lab. I am a vocalist who felt that I had not found my own unique voice and was hoping that this opportunity would help me discover it. When Antero told me I would find and develop a song over the next three months from my own culture I knew instantly that this would have a huge impact on my life regardless if I made the audition or not. Coming from a family with a broken history, I had never gone past the idea that I was physically an American and a 4th generational Californian. I vowed, that day, to delve into my own cultural heritage.

Little did I know that the ritual dive into the ancestral sea would lead me into the realm of the internal landscape that is infinitely filled with images, songs, knowledge, and spirit. I have not only discovered my own unique voice, but many other voices as well. I continue to discover and uncover the rigidity within me that has kept me from using my voice for expressing and commanding. I have encountered stories that are mythic in size and visions that have impacted many areas of my personal life. I feel that the schism that lies between my physicality and spirituality is being sewn together in each lab, with the gold thread that is produced from each ritual.

I am humbled to have found this place. I am grateful to Antero and to the others who have led me here.

JoJo Razor
Oakland California
jojorazor@jojorazor.com





Todd Richmond

Beginner's Mind Lab (Autumn 2007), Dreambody/Earthbody (Spring 2008),
Dreaming Ritual
(Spring 2009), Muses Lab (Spring 2010),

BASICS 1
Lab
(Autumn 2010)

-The work has been truly a creative force in my own self-evolution.

Antero's paratheatre laboratories were the reason I came out to Berkeley in the first place. I felt a hunger for something I only had questions for. What I discovered was a way of navigating the world with both honesty and integrity. Its process of teaching one to perceive and communicate reality directly is one of total commitment and integrity. It serves what is practical and addresses the needs of the existing conditions of your life.

-If you ever get a chance to work with Antero... get ready to find yourself in unexpected places that are truly surprising and frightfully alive.

Todd Richmond
Boston MA
forexodus@yahoo.com





James Wagner

Dreaming Ritual (Winter 2008) Precision Lab (Summer 2009),
Dreaming Ritual (Spring 2009), Precision Lab (Summer 2009)
Dreaming Ritual (Fall 2009), Muses Lab (Spring 2010),
Theatre of Sources Lab
(Summer 2010), Muses Lab 2 (Winter 2010/11),
Basics Lab (Spring 2011) Ancestors' Lab (Fall 2013)

Theatre and Paratheatre:

My driving intention is to actualize my gift as an actor as a full spectrum spiritual practice. I came to paratheatre to explore and develop that possibility.

I can say that without question, my experiences in paratheatre have been the single greatest tool I’ve found to meet my intention. It has revolutionized my being and thus revolutionized my art.

For me, surrender, submission, and service to autonomous energy sources in a full committed and active physical/vocal expression (and the personal preparatory work necessary to make my body capable of that service) is the core value I receive from the work. I now approach my entire artistic process as excavation, submission, surrender, and service founded on as much spaciousness and receptivity as possible (which comes through deepening practice of no-form). I also have been able to significantly deflate (and ‘right-size’) the role of my ego in the process. I now often languish in the joy that accompanies the Real Experience of a Divine Force in its many manifestations as the source and guide of all creative (and life) processes. Connection to and Knowledge of That Force and submission to its will through art (giving it form through creative action) is a great gift and a great relief.

That said, the fire of self-exposure has been excruciating and of course, eventually, relieving and liberating. I bow in gratitude to Impersonal No-Form that secretly animates this whole endeavor.

James Wagner
Los Angeles CA
www.jameslouiswagner.com


 


Jaya Miller

Basics Labs (Spring and Fall 2013), Trinity Lab (Spring 2014),
Ritual Song Lab (Spring 2015)

During the years I participated in the paratheatrical sessions I went from a fairly stuck time to a much more fluid experience in life. I was renting a room in Berkeley when the landlady I lived with gave me an option to move out.  I was propelled into renting a small apartment, very lovely…. It was as though my body had made the decision and not my mind. I couldn’t figure out how I did it, I thought my mind was crazy! I just kept going with a yes , YES in front of me. Through working with the gut as a source of movement I walked into the unknown with only a weak, little judgmental sound coming from a limping source.  This was a result of the work no doubt.
 

I located determination with assessment of intuition and intention at each few steps. Somewhere in my actions there is full trust in my being. I had to ignore mental speech. The exercises, routines, and rituals are tools to access buried places and truths that help dig out old stories and refresh the nervous system, musculature and bones.
 

Antero has developed a framework like no other, so viscerally allowing demons to release, and a vertical sense of universal guidance to be witnessed. Bringing private thoughts to the lab and psyching them out with conversations made of movements to sounds reveals insights. The trial alchemies during the singular mapping are then brought to the light of the life that’s lived on a daily basis in the wide world. It’s an adaptogenic stress buster. My visual art also picked up vitality.

 I knew about Alli’s work more than a decade before moving to the Bay Area. How lucky I was. Now I search for something as privately opening as those sessions.
 

Jaya Miller
Oakland, CA

Jayamiller.com





Trey Donovan

2 Basics Labs (2013, 2014)

I appreciated the methodical approach of a timed warmup, so that there was not any guesswork about where to focus energy at this specific part of the work, and yet enough latitude to determine my own method in each of the phases of physical warmup.

The prescribed rituals I felt were quite simple to grasp as were relationships between source, for example, the division of the room into named quadrants that touched one another in, at once, a  conceptual and a profound way provided a framework that I readily could apply what I already know, yet could immerse fully into as mystery, as well.

What I didn’t expect and what visited me pretty much in each of the 7 lab sessions was a visit from the work I’ve done in Subud. Something tells me that opening oneself up to vertical sources induces the soul body to connect with a timeless part of one’s life.  At least that is my considered opinion, based on what was happening, seemingly involuntarily, when participating in the lab. Seems to me that what is being approached in the paratheater work is preparation for real spiritual work.  This is something that I feel has been impossible for me to do while sitting in silent meditation, but in Paratheater, appears to open up.

My particular manifestation of this is very distinct and I recognize it instantly.  So when that crept up, I was not surprised, but I didn’t expect it.  Things that appeared to me as answers to burning spiritual questions out of this Paratheater work were also occasionally unexpected, but welcome.  I was very happy to get some of these answers, and others of these answers have been kind of vexing and disturbing.  But the truth is not always what we want to see…so to honor my own truth is probably my biggest takeaway from the Basics lab.

Trey Donovan
Taos NM




Duncan Cook

Sacrifice Lab (Autumn 1999), Two Basics Labs (2013-2014),
Characters Lab (Winter 2014-2015)

I am a person who turns to my creative endeavors as a source of entertainment, nourishment, service, collaboration, exploration, and more (at times even for income). As a young man I found this aspect of myself to be never-ending and abundant, but as I have grown older I have learned that it must be earnestly cultivated. Whether it be due to the demands of society and the world or a natural expiration of relevant inspiration, these forces can become spare or even unavailable. I've discovered that my internal sources might need a direct relationship with me as much as I need one with them.

I was introduced to the paratheatrical ritual process in 1999 and it has since woven into my understanding and appreciation of the larger reality around me, personal projects, and my unfolding individuation. The absolute commitment, abject honesty, tolerance for uncertainty, and unwavering compassion for myself that are involved in (and maybe even crucial to) this process continues to support my journey through this existence. While there are other activities and rituals that also contribute to this process, paratheatre continues to be the most potent and least dogmatic among them."

Duncan Cook
Campbell CA
pinealrapture@yahoo.com


 


Ishmael Aylwin

BASICS 2 Lab (Autumn 2010)

Paratheatre work is amazingly growthful.

Paratheatre work pushed me to explore my nervous system somatically and then discover what I knew, but had no conscious awareness of. The practice endeavored to break my conscious habitual neural net patterns of thought by taking me directly to my body and asking me to change somatic holding patterns there, especially as expressed through movement. Since my mind and body are two sides of one coin, this process forced me to change how I thought as well as how I moved. The challenge was to remain receptive enough to allow conscious awareness of the new perspectives.

The ego is a strong force for turning everything into itself, vs. being changed by openly taking in new information. There were times when I was open enough to what I had been holding onto somatically, that the realizations brought through the gift of this work were cognitive and profound. Through some miracle I was ready to have my view of the world change. At other times, as with all shadow work, I felt somewhat uncomfortable, unclear, and confused although definitely more alive, as hidden areas of consciousness were given at least some space to move and be felt, even if only partially.

I highly recommend this work to anyone on a path of self knowledge, especially for those whose path has not included an unquestionably somatic component. For those whose self work has included a somatic component, I recommend it just for the pure exploratory fun of it. In either case you'll find it hard work, but I think you'll enjoy the "ride."

Ishmael Aylwin
Oakland CA
iam@hyperlogos.com


 


Lori Salomon

Beginning BASICS Lab (Fall 2011), Dreambody/Earthbody Lab (2012)

I prepare for a polarity exercise -
Out of the vast, undifferentiated tangle of all that i am,
I clarify the bulk of the moment into two opposing realms: my Self, and the Ancestors.

The ritual is like a painting-
The sensations, images and emotions are the medium. Create the ritual with whatever is evoked or emergent from voice, blood, muscles, nerves, bones, meridians, vayus, and the conscious /barely conscious threads that continue through all time, all sentient beings, the very earth and cosmos itself. The canvas for this innocent and ambitious sand mandala is the ritual group.

Let us refine awareness
And sink below the first layers of attention.
Crack open the surfaces to find deeper surfaces.

We created a territory dedicated to the ancestors. I arrive and crouch down in the unfamiliar landscape. I test the air with my voice - I recognize what rings true to this exploration , and what does not ring true simply lacks the hearty resonance of the energies I invite, gather and celebrate.

Hoarse, deep sounds from vocal cords not quite my own -such divine entertainment ! I hear another rhythmic voice - do we have the skills to travel the realms together? True democracy in action. his night is like any other: sacred and mundane, Beautiful and absurd. I'm having way more fun than I expected.

After 35 years of dance, intense yoga practice and meditation, what a refreshing affirmation: that the goal was not to transcend being human, but to fully embody it.

Lokah samasta sukino bavantu.

Lori Salomon
Mill Valley CA


 


Miriam Sluis

MUSES Lab PDX (Summer 2016), ANCESTORS Lab PDX (Summer 2017)
CHAKRA Lab PDX (Summer 2018)

Paratheatre blazed a way in. Straight thru a wall I didn't know existed into an inner landscape I was barely aware of. The first ritual, solo, as part of the online 8 circuit brain course Antero taught in 2007, confronted me with my general feelings of un-safety. Up until that night, I intellectually knew I didn't feel safe in the world, but I'd never consciously experienced it, up close.

Scared shitless, but with a deep knowing this was the path, I stayed the course. Hard work with Antero pays off. After years of doing solo-rituals, the wall crumbled in the spring of 2016. My inner dragon exploded into my ritual space, dissolving the need for substances I'd relied on all of my adult life. Now the animal comes along on joyous explorations of my pulsating inner landscape.

It was there when I travelled to Portland, OR to participate in a Paratheatre Muses Lab this summer. Working in a group posed new challenges, and further opportunities for growth. The shock waves from this Lab continue to roll out... Paratheatre has been a main stay in me taking control of my own vessel. And will be for some time to come.

Miriam Sluis,
Curaçao, Dutch West Indies


 


Brendan Ramsden

Two-Faced Clowns Lab (Winter 2005), Beginner's Mind Lab (Autumn 2007),
Precision Lab (Summer 2009), BASICS Lab (Spring 2010),
BASICS Lab
(Autumn 2010), CHAKRA Lab PDX (Summer 2018)

The primary impact these ParaTheater sessions have had on me is a direct remembrance and revitalization of the inherent centrality I am to this Life. In other words, the work I’ve been exposed to has helped deliver me into a great deal of liberation and triumph to be the singular entity I most certainly enjoy experiencing. The “getting high” part has been reaching many saturation points where I have experienced brand new and even miraculous states of awareness that brought me to delightful amazement and/or deep reverence. Also, it has had what I’ll call a sobering or calming effect on me. I believe I’ve had great fortune in having had a lot of healthy, natural-highness in my life. This work has fostered in me an already existing focalizing fortitude to survive both high and well. A fortitude which both yields to and transcends yet another basic tendency in me to protect my very sensitive, core orientation...

To summarize: Deep survival instinct met with deep tempering technique to yield effective steps toward critical, life-navigating, initiative-taking practices. So, the ParaTheater work I’ve done has both enhanced the experience of my singularity and fostered an active dynamic of wise intentionality into my basic survival patterning.

From another perspective, I cannot say where I’d be today had I not been made a two-faced clown in my very first lab these long six years ago. Throughout that new adventure I felt very lucky to be a part of the rare space that was “confronting personal hypocrisy”, especially surrounded by such focused and seemingly adept participants. An insight story: My father, John Random, gave me my first LSD when I was eighteen. Those early adventures were informed by what I’ll call his disposition toward discipline. So I went into psychedelic experimentation with an attitude to learn all that I could in the time we were “in the zone”. As a result, in some basic ways, ParaTheater sessions have been similar in both nature and application to those acid trips. As in, once a session begins there is no going back. Once high enough, everything is alterable by me specifically and I come out the other side a truly altered person.

Brendan Ramsden
Portland OR
brendanvision@gmail.com


 


Benjamin Jarrett

The Alchemy Lab (Spring 2006) I participated in the Spring 2006 Alchemy Lab with much confusion, frustration, embarrasment, and shame. I've always known that my ego was large, but this lab held a mirror in front of me that I could not look away from. For the better part of the lab, I was moody, defeated, closed-off, and hyper-judgemental. What the lab did for me was what it didn't to, ie: it gave me no comfort. It, Antero, and the other paricipants, did not take care of me. The discomfort I felt was that of a naughty boy who's now got to play and have fun instead of just shut himself up in his room and read all day. This feeling did not leave me upon the closing of the circle. What remained was to be digested and chewed on for months to come. And the result of this lab was to liken me to one who had been dreaming and received a slap in the face to wake up to the wonders of life unfolding at all times; along with the pain, the pleasure, the joy as well as the grief, the horror and the humor. It gave me a smorgasboard of tools with which to take with me on my way along this path. Tools for illumination of what's in front of me.

Benjamin Jarrett
Romania
jarrett_benjamin@hotmail.com


 


Jessica Bockler

The Alchemy Lab (Spring 2006)

Just over a year ago I followed a hunch. Whilst researching Jerzy Grotowski’s work on the internet I came across Antero Alli’s website and work. I was immediately fascinated … everything I read on the site was so much what I was striving for as a theatre practitioner, artist and writer … everything I read was so much about what I needed as a human being. And so I set my intention … to travel from Liverpool in the UK to Berkeley … to participate in Antero’s Alchemy Laboratory in the spring of 2006.

What I encountered in this lab is something I will never forget – yet it is still largely ineffable. The work was intense, powerful, demanding, exploratory yet disciplined, tedious yet exhilarating, carefully structured yet utterly unpredictable. I loved almost every moment of it … and I now deeply appreciate the moments of frustration, fear and disorientation I experienced when things didn’t go so smoothly for me! Indeed, those moments were an essential part of the journey … they helped me gain a deeper insight into myself … and I feel that I have grown as an artist and as a person. Antero, thank you so much for the adventurous ride! I hope I may find my way back to you in the coming years!

Jesscia Bockler, PhD.
Liverpool UK
j.bockler@btopenworld.com


 


Joshua Bewig

The Alchemy lab (Spring 2006), Song and a Prayer (Winter 2006)

I thought of this paragraph while I was packing up my stuff in my room. I'm looking forward to continuing the lab on my own when I go camping for several days this week...

Where to begin? The force of unwavering commitment comes to mind. Or backing up a little further: the crystal clarity of intention. Or further still: simply being in no-form, from whence all motion comes. The stillness that makes motion possible, that embodies all polarity. If the task of the artist is to perpetually map her or his wanderings in the void, then one must strive relentlessly towards an intimacy with that void. I have learned that the ego is a fragile center to cling to. Let it shatter and reassemble itself in the image of its source. We begin and end at the source, again and again, always distilling. This is our work.

Joshua Bewig
Gujo-shi, Gifu Japan
joshua_bewig@yahoo.com
http://naturetheaterofoklahoma.com/


 


Lapo

The Initiations Lab (Winter/Spring 2003/04)

Through intentional acts, we cause change in conformity with our will to contact archetypes and surrender to them, becoming vehicles for their expression. Out of this we gain the experience of both extremes of opposing archetypal polarities, which increases (when repeated, shook and mixed regularly) elasticity in the ego, our main means of functioning "horizontally". This in turn decreases resistance to change and helps develop an ability that isn't taught anywhere (anywhere ordinary, at least) and in a sense cannot really be "taught".

Even though we talk about sources, archetypes, deities and so on, none of it is made up, or existing only in the realm of the mind. Intellectually-oriented (or "-lopsided"!) individuals such as myself obviously benefit enormously from such an approach, because it demands we develop sides of our self that have typically been left somewhat behind. But it remains a sound method of working for just about anyone, especially when doing work that aims at evoking/invoking "energies" not usually tapped into.

Paratheatrical work also forces us to do something of paramount importance to anybody interested in any kind of harmonious development of being: through it we feel our body deeply. This may sound like not much, but once it is done, its more profound implications become evident. By answering this key need of our body, that of having our consciousness imbue, accompany and penetrate it, we have an opportunity to honor the alchemical marriage between Psyche and Essence. Which is, by the way, one of those covenants that really can't be escaped - until death doth you part, anyway.

Lapo
Nevada City CA


 


artwork by Lily Nova

Song as Vehicle (Winter 2004)

I first met Antero in person at a Nevada City showing of "Crux," one of his many films. I was impressed with his understated manner. He has a powerful presence and seemingly not the slightest push to get his message across. He seems to be waiting to get something from others to respond to and then he considers what has been said before continuing. What caught my attention was the challenging question posed throughout "Crux": “What are you living for?” I tried to find an answer inside myself but I knew that there was no easy answer. It’s a question that needs to be asked again and again.

Working in the "Song As Vehicle" (Winter 2004) paratheatrical lab was a great experience and helped me expand my world in many ways. As a result, I feel a tremendous expansion in my outlook, my perception of myself and others, my willingness to try new things, meet new challenges, and I have found a great love of learning. My life has changed radically since meeting him.

Lily Nova
Nevada City CA
novalil@yahoo.com

 


more paratheatre stories to come...


 




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