A slice of the future


By Scott Stiffler

Credit is certainly due to NAATCO — the National Asian American Theatre Company. Last year, they put an exceedingly imaginative slapstick spin on Chekhov’s dreary Russian tragedy “The Seagull.” Earlier this fall, they gave us a one-night-only fundraiser whose damn-near-off-book staged reading of Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” was as flawless and beautifully rendered as any Broadway theatergoer could hope for.

It’s a little sad, then, to witness their current effort. Jordan Harrison’s “Futura” hits the mark as far as ambition goes, but falls considerably short when it comes to delivering on the busy sci-fi premise. The plot, in a nutshell: In the very near future, we’ll see a world in which paper has become an enemy of the state and members of terrorist cells fight to overthrow The Company’s airtight grip over a populace which no longer has the skill, or savvy, to voice their thoughts via that musty practice known as “handwriting.”

Let’s hope NAATCO’s next effort features more philosophically coherent material and more of the talented ensemble (this one has a measly cast of 4). That’s a compliment, by the way. At the end of “Futura,” you’ll probably have had it with the work itself — but you’ll emerge with NAATCO’s hooks firmly implanted in your eager flesh.

“Futura” is presented through Nov. 13, at the TBG Theater (312 W. 36th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For tickets, call 212-868-4444. Visit www.naatco.org.