Song for a Future Generation
nytheatre.com review by Hilary Krishnan
April 30, 2010
A teen-age time traveler hopelessly chases after the one who got away. Three clones of a single young girl struggle to discover who is the original. A shape-shifting bounty hunter is after a 16-year-old escaped convict, suspected of plotting to blow up what promises to be the best dance party ever—a dance party being held upon a satellite in honor of an exploding star. This is The Management's latest venture, Song for a Future Generation, a "science fiction spectacle dance party." A party that you should not miss.
Playwright Joe Tracz masterfully marries a number of unlikely genres, balancing poignant direct addresses, farce, intimate voyeuristic scenes, and outrageous musical and dance numbers. He pulls you in from the first moment and never lets you go. Director Meg Sturiano clearly has a keen understanding of each style and takes us on a seamless journey from scene to scene. At times, a degree of the play's momentum is lost when a chunk of narrative or dance seems just a bit longer than is necessary, but it's never long before the company quickly recovers the audience's attention with another thrilling surprise.
Nicole Beerman's choreography is exuberant, invigorating, and both hysterically appropriate and integral to the storytelling. The space at Under St. Marks creates a number of spatial challenges, but Beerman manages to work 13 actors into delightful dances without sacrifice.
The production design is innovative and effective. Thanks to the classic '80s stylings of sound designer Adam Swiderski and the futuristic physical world of neon colors, silver mylar, and white mod furnishings, we are given a clear and consistent understanding of what the future is and, most importantly, what their parties are like. I would be delighted, however, to see what they could do in a space more conducive to their needs and with a larger production budget.
There isn't a single weak link among the actors, and it's terrific how well they work together as an ensemble. The three clone girls—played by Joleen Wilkinson, Ronica V. Reddick, and Tara Giordano—are particularly captivating, as they intimately share with us their coming-of-age story of finding love (and finding themselves) . The boy wonder they pine after, Error, is charmingly played by Nick Lewis. What is most notable about this ensemble, as a whole, is how intently they listen to each other. It seems simple enough, but I think it makes the different between a good play and a great play.
The Management is among the more imaginative and resourceful theatre companies in the city. Their fervent energy and spirit of collaboration is made evident in Song for a Future Generation; they clearly love making theatre. All weekend, I have had the B-52's "Rock Lobster" stuck in my head, a delightful reminder of this epic, new wave, sci-fi, theatrical revolution.