Future Cargo Review – a science fiction show takes us back to those strange times | Dance
Sways that are physically and not digitally distributed remain a rarity these days, but Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg’s Future Cargo, executed inside a 40-foot transport truck that houses its assembly and technology, is designed for road transport. Inspired by sci-fi, this touring production isn’t so much futuristic as it is retro and endearing analog, with an opening voiceover to UFO sightings and alien landings that creates a 1950s B-movie vibe. Granted, there’s some 21st-century tech involved: the audience, sitting outside, plugs into a binaural soundtrack through headphones, and I imagine the lighting, which flushes the interior with shades of teal, fuchsia and lilac, uses up-dating software. But the main theatrical trick is just a mechanical treadmill that allows the three dancers to glide along the truck before running back to start the loop again.
This loop is the basic choreographic mechanism, which Requardt and Rosenberg adorn with significant extracts which evolve and mutate with each cycle. Streak and gender neutral silvery bodysuits rack up baseball caps, tasseled dresses, cotton candy wigs, and funky tops. The action ranges from kneeling, standing and swaying to a precise and curiously distorted boogie. Accessories also emerge: houseplants, water fountains, tennis rackets, each inducing movements that seem both appropriate – cup filling, hitting the ball – and aimlessly.
All of this feeds the loop – but what does the loop feed us? For a long time, not much more than that. Hold on, and a creepy subtext comes out, with one of the dancers, climbing from inside the truck to the roof, swapping places with the driver of the truck who has climbed up from the cab and now descends into the container aquarium space. This breach – of the roof rather than the fourth wall – lets the eerie world of these brilliant aliens mingle with ours and, like good science fiction, sends us back to ourselves.
Looking around I noticed the background of cars, skateboarders and walkers on their own “travelers” – roads, paths, sidewalks; countless accessories for bodywear, facewear and hand luggage; the movement of plants in the wind and the red color of the sky; our own spaced, mystifying and perhaps aimless presence on this planet.