Everything is OK
performed by Marco D’Agostin
The flowery figure of Marco d’Agostin walks decisively on stage, deftly starts rapping as fast as Nicky Minaj, switching from singing to quoting in several languages. Immediately this articulated body begins gesticulating to the rhythm of his initial soundtrack. At times miming or gimmicking elements from street and pop culture such as vogueing and twerking, all intertwined with the reasonable amount of ''contemporary dance’’, the body insists and maintains a rapid sequence of movements that pass through different idioms without really growing into an actual movement language. The performer's consistently expressionless face somehow contains the schizophrenic discourse unravelling in front of us.
This journey, that initially seemed to follow the vocal map of the beginning, slowly becomes a blur and weirdly fades away towards the end.
Everything is OK begins with Marco D’Agostin confidently entering the stage, dressed in a striking, colourful shirt. As if tuning a delirious radio, he performs a deadpan recitation of a teasing multilingual medley of pop song lyrics mixed with movie dialogues and speeches. Then, words give way to a torrent of movement: D’Agostin deconstructs popular movement styles, strips off any dramatic elements, cuts out fragments and stitches them together. His limber, hyperactive body switches seamlessly from aerobics to gymnastics, from ballet to jazz and modern dance, from muscular posing to sign language. He sweats and pants until he lies on the floor, exhausted and drained. It is in this intimate moment of abandonment that we are allowed to perceive a sadness and fragility that was previously hidden in confidence and detachment – to see that everything might not be ok after all.
Marco D’Agostin is wearing a loud shirt of blocky, floral patterns in bright, clashing colours. There’s a lot of “information” in it, we might say. But it’s nowhere near the amount of blocky, clashing information in his solo Everything is OK. He opens with a long, continuous stream of speech that jumps between languages and accents, fleetingly referencing songs, conversations, news and interviews like a verbal flickbook. His face remains blank throughout. There follows an extended dance section, an unbroken flow of action through aerobic bounces, cabaret high-kicks, modern-dance moves, music-video shimmies and much more, executed with blank disaffection, as if it’s all nothing to do with him.
D’Agostin may be exhausted by this – he collapses on the floor, leaving the lighting to take over – but for us it’s oddly soothing: information overload blurs into a texture, and the piece passes by like a barely-remembered dream.
Marco D’Agostin’s mouth is unbrokenly burbling everything from Nicki Minaj, The Godfather and French award ceremony openings, but his face around it is a perfect mask. The effect is eerie; it is as if a restless spirit has possessed him and is flicking through the channels of his verbal memory. The possession soon moves to his limbs. We watch D’Agostin’s body endure a kinetic assault from a mysterious interior source, restlessly switching between balletic high kicks, cheerleader peacocking, gymnastic floorwork and complex pantomime until he finally collapses. All the while, his expression is unnervingly empty.
This tautly plotted solo is a remarkable depiction of stress and its particular energies – the white noise of agitation, the anxious compulsion, the curious sense of dissociation. D’Agostin has a strong presence, and he saves a potentially oversimplified piece with the conviction of his performance.