Passage Dance | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Passage Dance

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Passage Dance, at WNEP Theater. Putting together a sketch-comedy revue is a lot like making a mix tape: it's all about the art of assemblage. One must first consider theme and tone, then establish a narrative through line to tie the whole thing together. Yet diversity is essential--the more perspectives and styles the better.

Writer-director Paul Thomas zeroes in on a fertile subject--"traditional masculine identity"--in this collection of skits and songs, but tellingly most of the vignettes deal with the trials and tribulations of adolescence, about half presenting didactic variations on father-child heart-to-hearts on sex, homosexuality, or virginity. It seems Thomas hasn't experienced enough of adulthood to write about it effectively--his ruminations on death and aging never go beyond the obvious. There's got to be something more to say about the afterlife than whatever's communicated by a grim reaper so inept he carries a plastic scythe.

A fine cast works overtime to make this flimsy material seem more substantial. It's too bad Thomas never stepped outside the narrow mold of white male heterosexuality to solicit other points of view, because as it stands, Passage Dance is a lot more like a prefab K-tel compilation than a carefully crafted original.

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