Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review of Greed: A Tale of Enron at Rebecca Davis Dance

First published in the Broad Street Review:

Let me start by saying that this is one of the best new dance pieces I've seen in some time.

Now, the article:

With the dismal economy weighing down the collective psyche of the nation, Americans need an emotional bailout. In her recent dance-theater piece Greed: The Tale of Enron, choreographer Rebecca Davis is banking on finding one in art.

In 2001, Enron’s crooked executives used dubious accounting practices to kite the company’s value to more than $100 a share, promising more than $100 billion a year in revenue before its house of cards collapsed and left everyone who didn’t cash out holding worthless paper. Enron’s executives— Chairman Ken Lay (as played by a thoroughly smug Ian Dodge), CEO Jeffrey Skilling (admirably played and danced by Troy Macklin) and CFO Andy Fastow (Charles Russell), among others—gave the economy a bloody nose that’s still dripping, and tried to hide their crimes in shredded documents.

The media elevated their crimes to mythical status; after the Enron scandal, Gordon Gekko’s name was no longer invoked as the symbol of corporate greed. It took Davis, a fellow business student, entrepreneur, and choreographer, to immortalize the Enron saga in art. Anyone who missed the two performances missed a work that elevated a business case study into a mythical cautionary tale of rampant avarice.

Utilizing a pop score that included Coldplay, 311, Orbital and some public domain instrumentals, Davis begins her piece in a corporate power play, in which Skilling and Rebecca Mark (the sensational Vanessa Woods) vie for the open position of Enron’s chief operating officer. Lay arrives, waving his hands like a wizard making an incantation, and Mark sheds her blazer, hikes her skirt, and dazzles in an ensemble movement clearly playing on the potency of sex in the workplace.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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