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 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.
Santa Cruz CA
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),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 (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),
I’ve been a regular participant in the work of Paratheatrical Research since 1996. 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?”
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)
Significants of change
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!
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.
Dreaming Ritual (Winter 2008) Precision Lab (Summer 2009),
Dreaming Ritual (Spring 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.
Los Angeles CA
BASICS Lab (Fall 2011), Dreambody/Earthbody Lab (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.
San Francisco CA
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.
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."
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."
(click image for paratheatre background)
Participated in and/or facilitated in all Labs since 1977.
Over three-plus decades of doing and facilitating paratheatre, I have witnessed the metamorphosis of this medium through many stages shaped by each group and, by the many lab themes we have explored. Of all the facets of this work, No-Form practice has probably impacted me the most. After prolonged intimacy with Void, I no longer have much use for any self-image or perhaps, being attached to one. Though I immerse myself in various roles and activities as “artist” or "director" or “ritualist” or “teacher” or “author” or "filmmaker" or "astrologer", I can no longer identify with any of them without feeling like an imposter. My true identity dwells in silence where I remain unknown to myself.
I have also been profoundly impacted by the high levels of commitment and autonomy shown by those I have worked with over the years. Their integrity has encouraged me to continue this work when opposing forces might have pushed me to quit. My artistic processes have also been deeply impacted. Visions erupting from certain rituals and sources have inspired seed ideas that went onto sprout poetry, screenplays, completed film projects, theatre works and books.
The most personally impacting influences continue in me as a constellation of three internal sources: a creative relationship with the Muse archetype, an alignment with verticality and my service to Creation. These three sources express a holy trinity for me, a coherence that continues to charge my existence with meaning and purpose.
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.
Mill Valley CA
MUSES Lab PDX (Summer 2016)
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.
Curaçao, Dutch West Indies
Two-Faced Clowns Lab (Winter 2005), Beginner's Mind Lab (Autumn 2007),
BASICS Lab (Spring 2010), BASICS Lab (Autumn 2010)
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.
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.
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.
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.
San Francisco CA
Archaic Community (Winter 1991, Seattle), Crux (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 (2012), Muses Lab (Summer 2015)
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
San Francisco CA
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.
excerpted from 'Corridor of Madness'c
Nevada City CA
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!
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.
Nevada City CA
"Mass of the Iconoclasts", (performance lab, Winter 1992, Seattle)
Anima/Animus (Spring 2001, Berkeley)
By committing to the work I immersed myself in a psychic boot camp. I had tremendous resistance to it. Doing the polarity work was threatening, I felt much too vulnerable, or I felt nothing. NoForm was way too abstract. I could not begin to stop my internal voices, be still, get empty. I also found myself tremendously attracted to another participant, which lead to my being preoccupied with my appearance, both in my physical form, as well as how well I “performed.” In the fecund petri dish of ritual lab, this attraction became obsession, and it became difficult for me to separate my experience of the lab from this state. This was my initiation.
In the course of the obsession I discovered how deceitful and manipulative I could be, how false I could appear to be to gain someone’s trust. I lost any illusion about my inherent goodness. I continued with my manipulative ploys until they consumed me and imploded, leaving me covered in my own shit like some kind of tar baby. Fortunately I stuck with the process and in time, with grace, came to a place of awareness and compassion. As the drama subsided, I was able to go more deeply into the actual work of the Parathreatre lab. My voice opened up and I found I could sing. I noticed colors were deeper and brighter. My self consciousness disappeared. I could allow an openness, a spontaneity in my being and expression. I could forget myself and be “nobody.”
Now going into NoForm feels like coming home, being in that still state of receptivity, open to be moved by the actual conditions and influences of the moment. Open to the mystery of now. I credit NoForm with my recent successes with Reiki and healing energy work. I truly know how to “get out of the way” and become a conduit for larger forces. I am grateful for this.
The Anima/Animus Lab (Spring 2001) and The Ancestors Lab (Fall 2001)
Oh! You mean the impact of being allowed to play in full seriousness? Going as deep as I wish into the ocean of what it is that wants to arise into consciousness? The impact of my own heat and committment, guided quietly, respectfully, no hypnosis? Are you kidding? The impact?
The gift of peace in no-form that creates boundaries from these visits with archetypes and dualities, with unconscious/superconscious material, that gift, that fecund space of all-potential, how has that impacted me, and my life of making art? I bring these all to the canvas. I dance before I paint, I stand in no-form, I may designate a specific theme...or not...I may allow what is un-known to appear. I paint animas of my male sitters, I paint moods and dreams of cities.
more impact stories to come
PAST & PRESENT LAB PARTICIPANTS
A List of Those Who have Done This Work
LAB REPORTS AND RITUAL JOURNALS