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Green Cheese

Lunar Sea, presented by MOMIX

At the Lobero Theatre, Friday, November 3.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Schwyzer

When I was a kid, I used to wedge myself in the kitchen window
on the sill, so one arm and leg hung outside the house while the
others kept me anchored inside. When the sun was at the right
angle, the windowpane became reflective, mirroring my limbs so I
appeared like an oversized spider hanging in midair, waving
appendages in perfect symmetry. This was a highly entertaining
activity — for about 20 minutes. Stretch the spider game out much
longer and the unexpected effect lost its novelty, just as the
magic of MOMIX’s Lunar Sea wore thin before long.

“I know what I should have taken before this show,” my date
whispered jokingly as psychedelic trance music throbbed through the
theater and glowing bodies appeared to levitate behind images of
outer space projected on a transparent downstage scrim. At first,
the optical illusions achieved by clever costuming and blue-green
black lights were a real trip: Dancers appeared weightless, bounded
like moonwalkers, swam through the air, and rolled as if washed in
surging surf. It wasn’t long, though, before these devices became
familiar — at which point I was ready to journey to the next level.
Instead, Lunar Sea remained somewhere on the ocean floor, where
humanoid creatures bounced and swayed their way through a series of
disparate scenes that began to feel empty despite their novelty.
For the most part, the performers were remote, their faces and
their personalities masked by darkness and identical bodysuits.
They became more like flecks in a kaleidoscope than
individuals — interchangeable, mechanical parts in a constantly
shifting pattern.

Lunar Sea had some arresting moments, among them a bevy of
bobbing jellyfish formed by women holding umbrellas draped with
white sheets. Chances to really see the performers’ bodies and
their expressions were rare and satisfying; in a steamy male-female
duet, we got some black light relief and enjoyed the unfolding,
ravenous relationship as the dancers slithered over and around one
another and fused together to create a single, insect-like form. In
one delightful section, four grinning women in conical, tasseled
hats and strapless bathing suits bounced and rolled on giant
exercise balls, bopping their heads and striking poses in unison
like loopy synchronized swimmers.

My date, an open-minded modern dance initiate, recognized Lunar
Sea’s entertainment value and enjoyed the underwater revelry
without taking the bait. “Part of me wishes,” he whispered at one
point, “they’d use all this to tell some kind of story.”

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