Antero Alli

“Soror Mystica” review: breaking the frame

ParaTheatrical ReSearch's ritualistic production is and isn't a performance

My invite says “please arrive no later than 7:45” for this 8 pm performance, but when I walk into the intimate little performance space at 7:44 they’ve already started. Five dancers—four in all white (The Chaos Sisters, embodied by Memorie Eden, Maple Holmes, Lindsay Reich, and Faye Dylan) and one in fuligin with matching mask (Aether, incarnated by Bryan Smith)—sprawl around the floor, stretching their bodies, doing breathing exercises, probably meditating and visualizing red triangles and whatnot. I remember seeing Grotowski’s indelible name in connection with Antero Alli, perpetrator of tonight’s performance, and my mind goes to Artaud and Brecht. I realize that I’ve been played. When does the show start? Hey man, it never ended. I’ll bet they started warming up on the dance floor before they even opened the doors. We join our story already in progress.

“Soror Mystica” runs through Sunday night in Portland. Photo: A. Alli.

I take a seat, then another. My boots squeak, the floor creaks, I feel terrible for interrupting the performance. Oops, there goes that pesky frame. What performance? They’re just warming up. A static image of some kind of medieval amphitheater enlivens the screen behind the dancers, bracketed by bare branches hanging over candles on columns at the edge of the dance floor. Music that sounds more or less like Hildegard’s plays over the speakers. People trickle in. They keep silent. They prepare themselves physically and spiritually— as I have—for the Work, which is about to commence.


‘Bardoville’ review: Bukowski in Bardoville

Experimental multimedia paratheatrical ritual sets the poet's words in motion


My pilgrim’s progress toward the mid-May premiere of Bardoville, an “intermedia performance ritual,” began last March at Portland ‘s Clinton Theater’s emotionally transformative screening of the enigmatic Northwest-filmed work The Book of Jane, an engaging contemporary rendering of the Triple Goddess mythology from Irish lore created by former Berkeley-based performance artists and creative collaborators, paratheater researchers, filmmaker and musical/aural collage artists Antero and Sylvi Alli.

Memorie Eden, Hank Peterson, Randal S. Slager, Wendy Allegaert and Cibyl Kavan in “Bardoville.”

Following a trance-inducing musical performance by Sylvi, Antero explained during the Q & A his own pilgrims’ progress from Scandinavian philosophy and art student to teacher and paratheater practitioner of the experimental director Jerzy Grotowski’s work method and approach. On their company ParaTheatrical ReSearch PDX website, I found the working vision statement of the paratheater classes and experimental project genesis of Bardoville with a note at the end coyly crediting “Text by C. Bukowski.”


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!