by Kirby Lindsay, posted 28 September 2012
The connection between Nanda and Fremont may be considered tenuous, depending on how much you allow for affection. Members of the performance troupe – now transitioning into a production company – often work in Fremont, and with Fremonsters (Circus Contraption, Moisture Festival, FAC Solstice Pageant, etc.) And Fremonsters that have seen Nanda, love Nanda. Have you met them yet?
As the first stop on a performance tour of the West Coast, a window of opportunity will crack open and allow audiences to see Nanda, in action, for five shows at the Broadway Performance Hall, over three days (Oct 5th – 7th.) The troupe will restage, new and improved, ‘The Jacket,’ to the delight of their fanatic fans, and the jaw-dropping surprise of those who catch the show for the first time.
What Is Nanda?
Seeing ‘The Jacket’ would give the easiest understanding of Nanda. Describing it can be tricky, and nearly fruitless. “It’s kind of been a mixture of everyone’s passions and skill sets,” explained Misha Fradin. He is one of the four performers that created Nanda, along with Tomoki Sage, Kiyota Sage, and Chen Pollina. The friends grew up together, along with their manager, Daniel Milholland, in Port Townsend, raised, they say, by hippies – and without television – with plenty of space to play, move and create.
“You can imagine just about anything,” stated Kiyota Sage. Yet, no one can really imagine Nanda until they see it. “Acrobaticalism,” Kiyota Sage called it. On promotional materials, they call it ‘acrobaticalist ninja theatre,’ and as odd as that sounds, it’s accurate.
Following a loose story line about, well, a jacket, the performers of Nanda juggle, tumble, perform martial arts moves (‘Kung Faux,’ they called it in classes they recently offered at OmCulture,) and generally throw things, and each other, around. They agreed their performances look like a group of 8-year-old boys at play, if the boys were on-stage, followed a single theme and maintained high-production values.
Who Is Nanda?
“Oftentimes the inspiration comes from seeing someone using their imagination,” explained Kiyota Sage. His brother, Tomoki Sage, went on, “a lot of our acts come from trying to do something that we can’t do – to make fun of it, and honoring it.” Then Fradin added, “the core of Nanda is, we take the things we like and totally mess with it.”
Opportunities to perform as Nanda, for shows, the tour, and corporate events, has increased. Yet, they’ve also, as of this year, converted into a production company doing film and events – sometimes tapping other performers. “We’ve produced other events, that we aren’t in, and parties,” explained Milholland, “mostly in Port Townsend.”
Part of the decision to diversify comes from accepting reality. “Because of the high physicality,” of Nanda, Milholland explained, “it is a limited time career.” None of the performers have a stand-in. “The material is very specific,” to the performers who created each part – and trust one another – Milholland said. “Someone did break his leg,” he reported about some past shows, “and they had to work his crutches into the show.” That injury occurred outside of Nanda. So far, no one has been seriously injured during a Nanda performance, but the possibility always exists.
Still, the motivation for diversification comes from something more profound for the performers. “We want to do a film company,” Kiyota Sage explained, “it comes from that same desire to do anything we want to do.” Anything the imagination can create. They want to explore building Nanda into movies and/or television, and explore all the possibilities, including spending ten days of the Legend Tour in Hollywood, California.
How Silly Can Nanda Get?
“Many moments of this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done,” admitted Tomoki Sage. And Fradin added, “I like how it gives everyone permission to do something stupid too.”
See some of the stupidity, and the freedom, of Nanda, and order tickets today to ‘The Jacket’ at Broadway Performance Hall October 5th, 6th or 7th – or in Kirkland on December 21st – 23rd.
Nanda has also already saved the dates to perform at Moisture Festival in 2013, for the 10th Anniversary of the festival. However, they encourage Fremonsters to wander up to Broadway in October, as Capitol Hill, Nanda agreed, can always use a little Fremont…
…and I’m here to tell you, all of us could stand to get a few doses of the singularly sensational stupidity that is Nanda!
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.