The Logic of Nothing is a circus-theatre show devised and created by PanGottic, an award-winning British/Israeli company based in Bristol. PanGottic consists of Matt Pang and Revital Gottshalk who met and formed PanGottic while they were studying at Circomedia.
Performed in Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, The Logic of Nothing had the small audience and intimate venue that worked extremely well with this type of performance.
The Logic of Nothing invites us into the home of Oscar Boffin (Matt Pang), “a slightly obsessive compulsive hoarder, inventor and a man who has filled his home with gadgets and contraptions, to make his life easier (or harder, depending on how well they work).” Oscar is also a playful, sometimes child-like, character who finds obvious joy in the contraptions, games and challenges he sets himself during the show. When asked about the creation of Oscar, Matt said: “he is a very lonely person with an urge to meet others, socialise and show off.”
As a show with just one performer, there was certainly no dialogue but no monologue either. Not a word was uttered throughout the performance. This didn’t stop Oscar communicating a range of emotions, instructions and asides to the audience or having us in fits of laughter. Oscar is an excellent embodiment of modern clowning and physical theatre.
The set is also a central element to the show. The set, Oscar's home is inspired by Rube Goldberg (USA) and Heath Robinson (UK), two cartoonists famous for their drawings of complicated contraptions designed to perform simple tasks. Oscar's abode is littered with springs, tracks for balls, and books, gas bottles and suitcases whose function in the show you’d never guess. Even Oscar’s toilet has an unorthodox flushing mechanism!
Despite juggling balls being ever present, they are only actually juggled on very few occasions. More often they are sent rolling down the various tracks, bounced off unlikely items or fired from spring-loaded catapults.
The noise the balls and the set make are expertly used by Kathy Hinde, the sound designer of The Logic of Nothing, to create the soundtrack to the piece. Much of it comes from contact mics that pick up the vibrations of parts of the set as the balls move through or over them. Even the recorded pieces of music were almost totally created using samples of the set noises.
The show also featured some audience participation. Oscar is always aware of his audience and makes you feel part of the show (and the fun) throughout. At one point he hauls a member of the audience onto stage to help him set up a rolla bolla sequence. Oscar also sends four long silver tubes through the audience, which involves everyone in the small theatre, so we can send balls rolling through them before they end up being thrown into his basin-helmet-tube contraption.
Totally ridiculous but totally fun!
If you’re quick you can see The Logic of Nothing in Lincoln on 6th February 2014, London on the 8th and Doynton (Gloucestershire) on the 15th.
Can’t make those? Keep your eye on PanGottic’s website for more dates. (I have also seen Matt’s street show which is also excellent and would recommend you check out any of his or PanGottic’s shows if they come near you.)