locust review Oct 20, 2006

by Tania Kupczak

I always appreciate when artists put themselves out on a limb. Locust’s opening night performance of  “Mockumentary ” multi-tasked several elements with dance, live sound, video, a story with characters, and the technical nightmare of syncing up 3 video screens and light cues. Amy O’Neal’s choreography is by far a strength. Her unique movement vocabulary, which blends modern and hip hop, is completely interesting an unpredictable. I love the contradiction that it is both grounded and light and beautiful and ugly. Her use of space, repetition, phrasing and timing, and especially the partnering had an intelligent intricacy that made me feel smart as an audience member. The dancing was mostly fantastic, although I think a couple of weeks of rehearsal could have cleaned up some sloppy group moments. Dancer Ellie Sandstrom-WOW! Zeke Keeble, also WOW! Keeble’s layered beats, quirky sounds, and vibe-a-lish-ish-ness are also a strength for the show. Also inventive and adds so much texture for the dancers to play with and through. The space was aesthetically interesting with black and white stripped marley and a bright red boarder along the perimeter. 3 video screens hung above. The dancers hung out in the space; if they weren’t on the stage, then they were all the way downstage on the floor or on the sofa, which offered the entire piece a casual feel. In general, my biggest criticism was that it lacked the glue to hold it together as a cohesive piece. Elements of it were great, but despite the zombie theme, the bits and pieces didn’t come together and at times it felt as though the puzzle pieces weren’t matching up. Advertised as  “part documentary, part horror film, part hip-hop video and part rock show ”, the sum of the  “parts ” didn’t always support one another and meandered aimlessly from one thing to the next. It lacked a sense of flow in its content. I’m not sure why Reggie Watts character was a major part at the beginning of the film, and then he was dropped. The jumping trampoline girls in bikinis and several other moments felt out of place to me. Maybe it’s a cool idea, but that doesn’t always mean it has a place in the big picture. Editing was needed. Maybe if they were jumping trampoline zombies? The vast amount of costume changes were also distracting, and I couldn’t figure out how and why it supported the piece. The film quality and editing was lacking. The stop, rewind, fast forward, slow down, speed up, and repeat edits seemed amateur to me. Whatever they filmed on did not always deliver strong image. Also at times the lighting was not thought out and therefore made the images hard to decipher. Footage like this is unnecessary, and I felt looked unprofessional diminishing the piece as a whole. Occasionally, I started to experience sensory-overload. With 3 screens projecting images and 7 dancers in the space, it was distracting and not supportive to have so many options. However with all of that said, I think this is a show worth seeing for the fancy dancin’, sound, and ultimately the risks Locust took. Clarissa likes shadows, the #13, watching cartoons when she's sick, spicy food, and asking people what their favorite dance move is that they perform frequently in their kitchen.