Danger Signals

Eva Jaunzemis, Robert M. Johanson and Jessica Almasy star in Danger Signals at New Ohio Theatre. Original photo by Charlie Dennis.

By Andrew Andrews

A few years ago, a drunk driver collided with the vehicle of Iranian-American director Sanaz Ghajar, causing traumatic internal bleeding and major damage to her frontal lobes and putting her into a coma. Over the next two years, Ghajar’s brain slowly rebuilt itself, creating new pathways that were “other, strong, weaker and more complicated.” Uncertain about how to finish the piece that she had started developing before the incident, Ghajar enlisted acclaimed British playwright Nina Segal to collaborate on “something between a play and a devised piece of theater.”

Danger Signals is the result of that effort. It begins with Jessica Almasy and Eva Jaunzemis’ flawless execution of Ben Hobbs’ powerful choreography, then before the mood gets a little too intense, Robert M. Johanson appears and injects a bit of comic relief with just a hint of Monty Python. The script jumps around like a train-of-thought with each of the characters walking the line between interacting with the others and living in their own little world, conveying the sense of what it must be like to recover from a traumatic brain injury that’s affected the ability to plan, judge, pay attention and behave in a socially-acceptable manner—while at the same time commenting on the “evolution” of medical science and the western world’s insatiable desire to control and colonize.

If that sounds like a lot to take in, well, you’ve got that right. But despite its pregnant pauses, intentional uneasiness and quirky laughs, the show moves quickly and, in the end, leaves you wanting just a little bit more, and Karen Boyer’s costumes are plain ol’ gorgeous. So if you’re up for a quick dose of experimental theater that doesn’t sacrifice its artistic integrity to cater to traditional ideals, then check out this show from Built for Collapse at the New Ohio Theatre before it closes on May 19th. Then, be sure to come back here and let us know how it made you feel, because your reviews help others decide whether they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find future performances you’re sure to love!

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Andrew Andrews attended Danger Signals at New Ohio Theatre in New York on Saturday, April 28, 2018 @ 8:00pm to write this review.

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