FrenetiCore Dance Theater Pays Tribute to the Late Essayist David Rakoff

The Set-up: For there is no answer as to why me: A Dance Tribute to David Rakoff the FrenetiCore dancers perform to audio clips by the late essayist and frequent NPR contributor David Rakoff; a variety of videos are projected onto a backdrop that hangs across the back of the stage. Sometimes the dancers act out the story being discussed in the clip, sometimes the correlation between the movements and Rakoff's stories are less closely tied.

Directed by Rebecca French with choreography by French, Ashley Horn and Aileen Mapes the program is performed without intermission.

In the program's first piece, The Scorpion and Tortoise, Rakoff recalls the story of a man invited to a wedding - between his ex-girlfriend and former best friend. Asked to toast the newlyweds, he's torn between venting his anger at the couple and behaving as expected. He manages to do both.

In another piece, Rant on Rent, Rakoff discusses the plot holes in the musical Rent. Film clips from the musical, edited by French, flash across the screen as Rakoff discusses how the Rent characters and their actions seem so improbable (for example, in Rent-world, HIV doesn't make you sick, it seems to make you more and more attractive),

The Execution: There are several positive aspects of the performance. The choreography is spot on; it's focused and thoughtful.

The choice of clips from Rakoff's broadcasts was excellent. In just 90 minutes, the audience gets a good idea of Rakoff's writing from witty sarcasm to sensitive self-reflection.

FrenetiCore's dancers, all talented, come in different sizes and colors. It's refreshing to see such variety on stage.

Also on the plus side, Ashley Horn's costumes, while simple, are effective.

On the minus side: the projector's set-up a light shines directly into the audience's eyes. That can get a bit annoying.

Also, there's a slight but noticeable different in the dancers' level of polish -- a few hesitations, a couple of moves not completely executed.

The Verdict: A nice addition to the FrenetiCore repertory, there is no answer as to why me, is a thoughtful tribute to a wonderful writer. French, Horn and Mapes each contributed solid choreography and the dancers performed, if not perfectly, very well.

there is no answer as to why me: A Dance Tribute to David Rakoff is performed at 8 p.m. every Monday, Friday and Saturday. Though December 14. FrenetiCore Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 832-426-4624 or visit freneticore.net. $15 to $25.

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