Here's the first, and key, image in Megatron's multisection Fetish. The Marymount Manhattan curtain opens to reveal two men sitting on their female partners' heads, feet tucked up so you can almost believe they've been standing on the women's shoulders and have just squatted for a rest. Between the couples (Krista Miller and Dan Weltner, Megan Brazil and Alexander Mikhail) vamps Eva Carrozza in red satin; when an apple descends on a wire, she licks it meaningfully.
The premises of Megatron are that women are strong, and that life is an athletic business. (On the side, choreographer Brazil has launched
The Martha Graham Workout at New York Sports Clubs, and company co director Weltner has devised Equi-Stretch, an exercise video for equestrians.) Using physical prowess as a metaphor, Fetish lobs cheerfully ironic darts at pop stereotypes. Amid the quick-change effects, it's sometimes hard to figure the point of view. If this is social criticism, it's got a touch of ADD, but as entertainment, its mind is on the prize. We may never know exactly what Carrozza represents at any given time, but clad in a skintight, black-net unitard, she's a compelling sight.
There are some thin moments at the beginning, though it's a nice touch when the apron-clad women raise oven mitts so their dominant, honey-I'm-home mates can park their cigarettes while watching Carrozza strip or dancing to Bobby Sichran's usefully eclectic score. In this world, anyone can be a weight lifter. Or a sex object. Weltner jiggles his pecs and
buttocks at the appreciative women; Mikhail strips to a teeny black jockstrap, then dons a tutu. Doggy images abound: men's neckties elongate into leashes; if a person on all fours passes a per son who's upright, a crotch sniff is in order.
The heart of the work is an overlong but arresting duet in which Weltner stands on Brazil's stomach and coils around her body. He's like a very large babypassive but not limp, holding on to her (unless she's got him, as she often does, draped over her shoulder in a fireman's carry). The slow, smooth maneuvers comment on those modern ballet duets in which the man never allows his partner to touch the ground; the reverse image conjures up less manipulative romance than maternal burdens.
Oddly, the only moment when two people treat each other tenderly and as equals comes in a gently erotic floor duet for Brazil and Miller. The women have no agenda but to keep their bodies dreamily winding together in curious ways. It's a contrast to the rest of Fetish, in which theatricality, some clever devices, and the performers' endearing ebullience cloak fairly obvious aperçus.