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[whitespace] Moving & Storage Performance Co. Real Life or Real Art? The Moving & Storage Performance Co. did a two- and three-dimensional dance at Sept. 24's Museum of Art and History concert.

Museum Pieces

Moving and Storage gets quirky with a program of short new dance works

By Rob Pratt

THERE IS, OF COURSE, high art and low art. And though all of the four 12-minute works on the program for the Moving & Storage Performance Co./Crash, Burn & Die Dance Co.'s program Sept. 24 were performed within the confines of the McPherson Center and the galleries of the Museum of Art and History, not all qualify as high art. Some of them might not qualify as art at all.

But that doesn't mean that they weren't engaging. Even simple pieces, like Leslie Swaha's It's Better To Be Lucky Than Good, exhibited a quirky charm. For that one, Rebecca Pringle acted out seven poker hands (after recruiting several audience members to ante up a dollar each), assigning a specific movement to every card of the deck.

Or Michael Allison and Dag Weiser's Bicycle Gallery, where a pair of performers on bicycles and with easels and painted canvases strapped to their backs slowly walked a circle around the atrium, making a quick change of the paintings with each circuit. Then they rang a bicycle bell. One switched the bill of his baseball cap from back to front (or front to back), and the other made a two-fingered pointing gesture. After 12 minutes of that, they rode off to the wings. End of piece.

Closest to high-art dance (and more emblematic of the two companies' usual works), Therese Adams' G. Blue presented a quartet of women dancers each following a different pattern of moves. Bright floodlights at stage left projected strong shadows against the stage right wall, and after a time the black-and-white shadow dances seemed almost as vivid as the 3D dances. With three double-life-size cutouts of a dancer in mid-move, the piece turned inside out: the flat cutouts moved in three dimensions while the remaining 3D dancer pressed flat against the floor.

All in all, the evening, though peppered with good moments, felt as awkward as freshman orientation at UCSC. Before showtime, people wandered around looking for which of four performance spaces they were assigned to. And between pieces, each crowd followed a hall monitor to the next spot. Then again, maybe those were just artful details added to a concert that coincided with the opening of the UCSC school year.

In the Wings

DUSTIN LEONARD, founder of Monterey Bay Repertory Theatre, sends advance word that the ambitious company is putting together a subscription season next year and readying a lineup of nearly half a dozen shows. The lead-off is a February production of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, directed by notable local theater stalwart Randy Birch. Also in the works are Jeffrey Hacker's The Turning of the Screw, directed by Suzanne Shragg, and the premiere of a one-man show--written, oddly, by a 12-person collective--that looks at important moments from the 20th century.

The company finishes up this year's booming season (a production of The Sum of Us that ran locally in May and June also had a hit summer run in Monterey) with Bill C. Davis' Mass Appeal, a two-man show featuring Leonard and longtime local actor Brain Spencer (last seen as F.D.R. in this summer's Cabrillo Stage production of Annie). Cabrillo College theater instructor Joseph Ribeiro directs the show, which opens Oct. 8 at the Broadway Playhouse.

Also on the boards for a big theater season just starting: Lupen Productions' encore run of Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water finishes up at the Broadway Playhouse Saturday; Friends of Gus concludes its Actors' Theatre run of Diane Samuels' wonderful Holocaust drama Kindertransport Oct. 10; and the Z Festival of New Performance--returning for a second season after last year's hit debut--gets going with an eclectic quartet of new works at the Actors' Theatre Oct. 14.

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From the September 29-October 6, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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