Experimental Theatre .Org
Antero Alli's 'A ParaTheatre Manifesto' !
When I have been asked by ETO to look at 'A ParaTheatre Manifesto', I have to admit it, I was skeptic. Then going through Antero Alli ' Manifesto I was impressed. It shows how alive is the experimental theatre today. I have to congratulate Antro Alli on his ParaTheatre Manifesto.
In the future ETO with be reviewing in details Antero Alli' experimental works and the ParaTheatre research under the 'Profile' section , in the main time before you start reading the 'A ParaTheatre Manifesto', I leave you with Antero Alli personal note about it.
'My reasons for writing this
"manifesto" have been very personal, like clarifying
Word from ETO
There are thousands of experimental works are done, have been done, or had been done. To select what to be published at ‘ETO’ Experimental Theatre. Org is a daunting task. By researching, watching, communicating with the artists in the theatre world wide, we hope to give you an insight to what is happening, or happened in experimental theatre worldwide.
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Experimental Theatre. Org
By Antero Alli
"manifesto" was composed for the purpose of stimulating dialogue. Comments,
questions and critiques encouraged.
(click my name for e-mail) --
It is recommended that the reader review the key terms listed below for the context in which they are being (re)defined before moving onto the rest of this manifesto. -- AA
We tend to think of “culture” as a thing and also a very big thing; hence, the smaller subcultures, microcultures, macrocultures. I suggest that culture addresses a dynamic process, not a thing, and a process that manifests itself in very similar ways regardless of size. Individuals can produce a culture, as can couples, and groups and entire sectors
of society. The impersonal (and unsentimental) basis of all human culture is no more or less than genes interacting with geography, the weave of time bonding DNA with its immediate womb environment. This interaction eventually crystallizes into symbols, languages, artifacts encoding and transmitting its unique characteristics as a cultural identity. Any culture achieves longevity by the success of its sustaining rituals and theatre is one of these rituals.
As with any vital ritual, the nature and purpose of theatre must evolve and change over time to meet the emergent needs of its molting culture. Like a snake shedding old skin, a culture grows by outgrowing itself. It does this by expanding its territory while embracing increasing levels of complexity. Any theatre that does not grow with its originating culture ceases to function as a vital sustaining ritual. Dead theatre results. For theatre to remain vital, a k
ind of “paratheatre” must
be developed that can test and nurture the performer’s own primordial source
connections (via DNA’s living cellular sources in the body)
and the immediate womb environment (i.e.., the needs of the local community). This paratheatre must also be able to train performers to refine their inner senses towards becoming a kind of local antennae for receiving and transmitting non local
signals from the cultural zeitgeist and its emergent future myths. Such a paratheatre moves us closer to the oracular and ritual origins of theatre itself.
Where theatre depends on an
audience to energize and validate itself (with applause and ticket sales),
paratheatre requires a kind of social poverty to realize its agenda of restoring
the performer's connection with the internal landscape of source relations.
Traditionally this shift has been instigated and maintained by various methods
of sense deprivation resulting in the intentional dis-identification with
external stimuli and the
redirection of consciousness towards internal, vertical sources. Over the ages various monastic orders and spiritual disciplines have accomplished this but rarely for the purpose of regenerating the ritual of theatre. One strident exception is the work and legacy of the late Polish paratheatre genius, Jerzy Grotowski, who coined the term paratheatre to address the group work he conducted between 1974-78 in eastern
Europe. The term "paratheatre" is used here with respect to his legacy and the current work of his protoges in Pontedera, Italy, while expanding its definitions to reflect my own ongoing paratheatrical research (since 1977).
Paratheatre initiates the performer into a non-performance climate that releases the pressure to perform and replaces it with the freedom and responsibility for creating one's own pressures. In this shift, the individual "performer ego" often undergoes a kind of shock from deprivation of audience feedback and its energy for animating the performance. As the performer undergoes this shift -- from external dependence on the audience to more internal dependence on energy sources in the body and its energy fields -- the performer opens a door to the possibilities of becoming a source unto him/herself, a "star" in the spiritual sense.
Another paratheatre technique for implementing this shift is realizing a more asocial intent for working together in a group. This amounts to relaxing and sometimes frustrating personal social agendas and needs -- for approval, courting and flirting, belonging, status, and security -- and replacing them with internally directed motives such as cultivating vertical source relations, silent prayer, intimacy with void and movement based on external spatial awareness.
Effective paratheatre techniques can help us disconnect from previous external motivations, such as pleasing an audience or drawing energy or support from others, and replacing these social agendas with a growing internal dependence on sources within the body itself. Consequently, paratheatre must be a highly visceral discipline to challenge the performer’s existing commitment to their own direct experiences, responses and perceptions. Rather than depend on the audience for energy we must learn the art of sourcing ourselves, of regenerating and reinventing ourselves as sources of energy, power and guidance.
The reason for becoming as “sources unto ourselves ” is to return to our audiences inside a greater force of generosity, rather than perpetuate the parasitic charisma of always taking; another symptom of dead theatre. When the ritual of theatre has died it's time to return to the vital sources underlying the creation of culture itself and, with the stealth of devoted ninjas, start inciting a series of benevolent attacks to expose the oppression, decadence and corruption that has crucified and buried the poetic Imagination, a chief inlet for Soul in this era (of emotional plague).
A term initially proposed by Wilhelm Reich for the psychological syndrome marked by irrational insistence on beliefs and ideas that depend on dissociation of mind from body. Reich also refered to it as "the neurotic character in destructive action on the social scene". Though this dissociation has plagued humanity for many centuries, it wasn’t until the “The Age of Reason” that the abstract intellect was
exalted to god-like status with Newton’s theories and Descartes’ “Meditations”. The current era of emotional plague has accelerated via the massive collective projection of physical, emotional and sexual energy into mental, or virtual, mediums such as the internet, VR technology, video games, mass media advertising, and television. If emotional plague is caused by disassociating mind from body, its confusion can be easily maintained by mistaking the virtual for the real, by taking an image or an idea of a reality for the reality itself; eating the menu instead of the meal, etc.
What is real and what
is an illusion ? Do you know ? Do you care ? If you don’t know and can say
so, you are probably waking up. If you already know what’s real, dare to live by
it; your example acts as a signal to kindred souls in the struggle. If you don't
care, don't bother; you are probably fast asleep. The emotional plague doesn’t
care either and you will soon be assimilated, if you have not already been
A ParaTheatre Manifesto and all Paratheatre ReSearch material
Copyright © 2005 Antero Alli
Part Two: Integrity Loss and Recovery
real connection, the force of commitment, sacrifice
Part Three: The Performer/Audience Romance
the total act, the phenomena of resonance, intimacy with void
Part Four: Part Four: Self-Observation and Ego
exposing the devil, being and playing, getting closer to center
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