I was sitting watching Bagabones last night with my delightful escort, and not hugely enjoying it. Jonathan Nosan is a contortionist by trade, and his piece needs a lot of shaping and structure. As some of you might be aware, I am a fiend for dramatic structure, and as I say over and over until I'm blue in the face (speaking of which, more on that later), structure has nothing to do with plot. Structure, if anything, frees one from narrative. It's more musical, about a feeling of shape. Instead of having arcs, the show pretty much existed, in terms of energy and content, along one straight line.
I love physical work. I love wordless work. Over the years, I've seen and enjoyed lots of experimental movement and dance. But I felt as if there was nothing here for me to latch onto. I found the sound design to be loud and headache inducing, but I may in fact be part puppy and do have a particularly hard time with the shrill and the loud and the sudden. I thought it looked nice at the beginning, with Nosan wearing a suit and fedora, with a harsh, directional white special. But the whole show was lit like this, and I found it tiring looking at a show that dark for an hour. There was a segment where he seemed to be some sort of yogi which ended in a really neat effect in which it looked like he was floating in the air in a lotus pose. But prior to this, I pretty much thought I was watching him do his yoga practice. Nosan is very, very strong and has great control of his body, but this alone does not make a compelling show.
At the end of the show, Nosan breaks a vase, releasing a dramatic looking puff of smoke. I smelled talc. Look - I'm asthmatic and really, really don't deal well with particulates. I considered running for the door, but it would have been really disruptive and the show was clearly over, so I waited out the curtain call. It triggered a minor attack which, honestly, sucked. Like a moron, I didn't have my inhaler with me. So, yeah. A warning of some sort would have been nice. That's all.
created by Jonathan Nosan
The First Floor Theatre@ LaMaMa, 74A East 4th Street
remaining performances: Sun 22 @ 6 & Thu 26 @ 6