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First and foremost: The theatre is impossible to find. The directions on mapquest were not helpful, and PICA simply said “see mapquest.” It would have been great to know that it is next door to OMSI on the South side, or that it is by the beginning of the Sellwood bike path. Both of these points of reference would have helped me tremendously. But anyway, I skidded into the theatre just before lights and got a court side seat.
The show opened with primary dancers and co-directors Amy O’Neal and Zeke Keeble who were the highlight of the show. Zeke created the music for most of the pieces by creating and looping sounds on the fly, something that reminded me of our local band Menomena and was rather sexy. He also beat boxed for much of the show, which provided surprisingly fit sound for the male dance pieces in particular. Locust is spunky, youthful, unorthodox, and a little bit sultry. The outfits were hit and miss. The women wore wide leg baggy jeans with hippyish patches sewn into the side which obliterated their graceful movements. The pants were so hideous and distracting that I was relieved when they stripped down to boyish undies. The men had equally distracting polyester shirts in one act which also distracted from their performance, but in a later act two men had fabulous deconstructed dinner jackets that wrapped around their torsos at odd angles.
The women played off of each other best with dynamic steps and extreme tension between them. The men did not achieve this same tension and their moves felt too blatantly choreographed when they were all on stage, a little like West-Side Story. Locust had a shabby-chic theme which sometimes worked in their favor, but not always. A final sequence was performed on squares of red shag carpet, a charming contrast to the shining red dance floor. However a video feed from another room showed a living room worse than most dorm rooms. I found this totally distracting because it was such a mess. A “commercial” break in the middle was a great idea, but the joke of ninja films dubbed into English so the lips are off is too played out to be anything more than silly.
Silly was certainly the word for Locust, to good and bad effects. Amy’s solo on one roller skate was enthralling, and the we’re-young-and-we-break-the-rules -so-there nature of the piece was exciting, but at the price of dramatic staying power. I walked away giggling, and that’s great, but talents such as Amy and Zeke would do best in more organized pieces.