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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Liquid Latex lays bare annual show

Published: March 12, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

Unsurprisingly, the Levin Ballroom was packed to capacity on Thursday night, with all seats filled and numerous people standing in the back of the room, all in anticipation of Liquid Latex’s 10th annual show. Every year, students get on stage and prance about with nothing on but latex and a lot of creativity, which always leads to some interesting results.

Liquid Latex performances tend to consist of two varieties: some choose to take themselves incredibly seriously while others decide to let loose.

After a brief introduction by the show’s coordinators, the first act took the audience inside the world of a very untraditional circus troupe, which consisted of such circus mainstays as a ringleader, a strongman and a pair of mimes. Together, they danced to the eponymous Britney Spears hit and introduced the show’s attendees to the circus that is Liquid Latex.

The frothy and fun “Circus” was followed by “Revolution,” which presented a fight-the-man theme in which a group of various dissenters were beaten down by a police officer—“the man”—with a nightstick. Just as he became comfortable in his role as oppressor, the others returned and beat the system into submission.

The next act, “Botany of Desire,” put a spin on the traditional version of the biblical Adam and Eve story. The performance began calmly enough, with both Adam and Eve dancing harmoniously in a hypnotic fashion with models representing their natural, idyllic surroundings. When Adam—not Eve—chooses to take a bite out of the fateful apple, the soundtrack quickly changed to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Adam and Eve dance ecstatically to the Gaga tune until they become aware of their own nakedness, at which point they—along with the music—slip into melancholy.

This was followed by perhaps one of the most eclectic presentations of the show, “Man vs. Empire Brain Building,” in which a hardworking man must fight back against the busy, modern world that oppresses him—represented by the “Empire Brain Building.” It was abstract but fun, and it was clear that the performance’s choreographers and dancers took a lot of joy from it.

“Beat of Beethoven” juxtaposed the classic grace of Beethoven with the ecstatic rhythms of classic disco.

One of the most elaborate performances came in the form of “Biohazard,” a play on the classic Frankenstein concept. In this case, a doctor and a nurse concoct their creations in a giant Petri dish, resulting in a variety of rapturous bacteria with a yen for dance. They quickly get minds of their own and attack their creators with toxic lust (appropriately enough, Britney Spears’ “Toxic” played at this point).

After an intermission, the show resumed with “For My Eyes Only,” a staging of “Cell Block Tango” from “Chicago,” which successfully captured the mixture of sex and murder that was present in the original.

This was followed by “Runway: World Runner,” which combined a culturally conscious fashion show with an infectious M.I.A.-infused soundtrack.

The following group tackled an interpretive presentation of George Orwell’s “1984” by way of Radiohead and managed to do so successfully.

“Dancing in the Streets” proved to be one of the more eccentric presentations. Though it initially began with a crowd of clothed students on stage (eliciting a chorus of people confusedly asking “Why are they clothed?!”—oh, the magic of Liquid Latex), various familiar “Sesame Street” characters—Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, among others—appeared and shared a few songs from the show, which inspired spontaneous clapping from the audience. At the end, presenters declared that the show had been “brought to you by the Letter L and the number 10,” a reference to the show’s 10th anniversary.

The show’s finale, titled “:-D ;-* 8^$ :-0 >:-[ :’(,” presented a world in which, on the sixth day of Creation, all human emotions were discarded. On the seventh day, however, emotions in the form of models escape and wreak havoc, unleashing both their private joy and anger. These emotions literally popped out of a giant garbage can that appeared on stage, and they returned to it at the end of the show—but not before they escaped into the audience, gesticulating wildly at onlookers.

The show ended with a quick parade of all the models, choreographers and designers that were involved, concluding yet another successful Liquid Latex show. Though the performances weren’t exactly revelatory, they weren’t trying to be—clearly everyone involved was in this for the fun of the experience, and they successfully managed to share this with their audience.