Bokan, the Bad Hearted La MaMa Annex Theater
74A East 4th Street
Through December 19
Bokan, the Bad Hearted, a colorful evening of dance puppetry by Federico Restrepo and his Loco 7 troupe, recounts an ancient Amazonian tale of a matriarchal culture falling to male rulenot a pretty story, of course, but quite beautifully arranged, including Elizabeth Swados's feast of music and song. A canopy of jungle trees perpetually dips and sways, and being able to see its handlers manipulate strings from on high somehow makes this spectacle even more magical. A huge mask fills the back of the space, receiving video images that propel us down the mighty Amazon or awe us with a stylized shower of stars. The magisterial sun god pops through its opened lips. The moon goddess visits the clearing in the form of an elegant, ceiling-high marionette (as well as a human dancer), and villagers appear as themselves or as life-size puppets strapped in front of their bodies. Everyone and everything dancescontinuously, exuberantly, passionatelynot least Colombian-born director-designer Restrepo. He has shaped the pivotal Izi/Bokan character as a villain you love to watch.