Putting the Fizz in Physical

Nanda's untranslatable acts of surprise.

Their feats of juggling, tumbling, balancing, and stage combat are enough to impress audiences. But thankfully, this quartet of headbanded, ninja-clad "acrobaticalists" bring a sly wit to their performance as well. With nods to parkour and mime, capoeira and The Matrix, they send up the relentless energy (and cranked-to-11 sound effects) of martial-arts films, turning displays of physical skill into something theatrical and unique. Their name, Nanda, is a Japanese colloquialism that's hard to translate, but is essentially used to express surprise. Friends since they were "feral little hippie kids" (as their website puts it) in Port Townsend, the four members of Nanda are now based in Portland and have become a popular fixture at variety and neo-circus shows up and down the West Coast. In Seattle, they've appeared with Circus Contraption and at ACT as part of the Moisture Festival. Nanda's four performances on the Fountain Lawn will likely include various acts from their earlier repertory—intricate four-man juggling routines like human kaleidoscope patterns; whirling, leaping stage fights that seem loose but which must be tightly choreographed (or else they'd break their necks); and a sort of Mission: Impossible espionage scene, mimed in sync to a music track full of sound effects, every high-tech beep and whoosh enacted precisely with a corresponding movement. This last routine provides the seed of their new hour-long show, which they'll perform Monday night. The Jacket is "a rock & roll-circus-ninja-dance-comedy-action movie performed live," says Nanda member Kiyota Sage. Its "plot" revolves around a battle over the titular garment, which confers superhuman powers on its wearer. It's the group's first full-length theater piece, the kind of thing "we've wanted to do since the beginning," says Kiyota's brother Tomoki. Nanda will bring The Jacket back to Hale's Palladium Nov. 19–27, and, if all goes well, to a Seattle theater later on. gborchert@seattleweekly.com

 
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