You probably haven't heard the term "avant-Americana musical" before, but that's how "Futurity," a new work written and performed by Cesar Alvarez and the Brooklyn indie-rock band Lisps, is being described, likely in light of its experimental format and folk sound.
With the upfront warning from the 13-member cast (comprised of actors who are also musicians) that the show is not based on actual history, it depicts how an idealistic Civil War soldier dreams of building a steam-powered computation machine -- a giant "steam brain," full of spinning wheels and gears.
The soldier, unhappy with his violent surroundings, optimistically believes that such a machine could bring peace to the world.
To make his vision a reality, he collaborates with the real-life nineteenth-century English mathematician Ada Loveless (considered the first-ever computer programmer).
"Futurity" doesn't really go anywhere. It is essentially a folk concert mixed with didactic speeches. Still, one can't help but admire its contemplative and informal nature. Plus, the performers are chummy and there's free popcorn.
If you go: Futurity" plays through Nov. 15 at the Connelly Theater. 222 E. 4th St., sohorep.org.