THE LOCUST WRATH
The Arts Fission Company
Artspace@Helutrans Gallery/Last Friday
The Arts Fission Company's The Locust Wrath was touted as a helter-skelter tour through 30 years of meteorological data and climate change.
Instead, the performance, which lacked focus, felt like a series of in-jokes which probably made no sense to anyone but the creators of the show.
The hour-long performance at Artspace@Helutrans Gallery was peppered with seemingly arbitrary motifs and unexplored avenues, such as the numbers and letters scrawled on the nude undergarments of the dancers as they wriggled like vulnerable, naked larvae on the floor. AUS2223, PHL2729 and SGP2084 were probably references to natural disasters that were as meaningful as car number plates.
The rest of the show ambled down a similarly erratic path. Between segments, dancers took out their cellphones and appeared engrossed in them, at some points even tangling their devices in flimsy elastic webs which hung from white frames. But instead of it being an insightful commentary on the impact of technology on climate, I felt like I was having dinner with an annoyingly anti-social friend.
There was a sequence where the dancers inexplicably covered their faces with hairnets, their hair bunned into a topknot. This was somehow interwoven with a ritualistic temple motif as the whole ensemble walked reverently towards a gossamer sheath hung at the end of the stage.
While audiences watching a performance should not be force-fed meaning, each theme needed more development and exploration to fully take flight. There was plenty of potential for that and the lack of realisation was frustrating.
One reason for this could be that the performance crammed 17 segments into an hour, which left little time to refine each one.
Despite the madcap dash, though, there were elements of the performance which worked well.