A Visual Arts Education Research Agenda for the 21st Century
Tad Chitwood & Laurene Scalf in Futura.
Photo courtesy of Theatre [502].

By Jordan Harrison

Directed by Amy Attaway

Reviewed by Carlos Manuel

Copyright © 2012, Carlos Manuel. All rights reserved.

It had been a long time since I attended a theatre production where both the play and the production served as an artistic and intellectual stimulus. And since I have attended a variety of productions, including those presented at the Humana Festival of New Works at Actors Theatre of Louisville, this means that Futura by Jordan Harrison, presented by Theatre [502] and directed by Amy Attaway, is one of the most inspiring theatrical works I have seen in the past year.

Futura opens with a lecture in typography given by “The Professor” (played by Laurene Scalf). The lecture is a very long monologue, becoming the majority of the play itself. And though “the lecture” is long, its content is intellectual, funny, intriguing and overall educational. Who would have thought that a font style is designed to stimulate the reader’s mind in one way or another? I admit I didn’t know that. I simply chose fonts because they are “pretty” or because it serves its specific purpose.  

Throughout the lecture, we learn two facts: there are no more books, and people do not know how to write. And this is because “the computer” has taken over, making everything “virtual.” Writing and books have become obsolete and “The Company” is responsible for keeping things that way.

Sometime during the lecture, the lights go off and “The Professor” is kidnapped. The kidnappers are two individuals: a very angry and violent woman by the name of Grace (played by Betsy Huggins); and a very innocent and naïve but handsome college student by the name of Gash (played by Drew Cash). Both are under the supervision of “The Boss” (played by Tad Chitwood). And even though we are led to believe these three individuals work for “The Company,” they don’t. This is revealed through a series of exchanges and events leading to some unexpected outcomes both positive and negative. It is pointless to tell you what happens next or about how the play ends. Those are matters you need to discover on your own.

What I will tell you is that as a company, Theatre [502] has chosen a very good play, written by an innovative playwright; it has also gathered a good acting ensemble and artistic team. Tad, Drew and Betsy do an excellent job, although I have to say that at times Tad’s voice got lost, making it a challenge to hear some of his lines. Special attention and congratulatory salutes, however, must be given to Laurene’s performance as “The Professor.” She’s the only actor who is on stage from beginning to end; and the events, as well as the other characters, only exist to highlight her character’s existence and purpose. Laurene looks and plays the part of the professor with intelligence and passion and knows with exactitude how to relate to every actor on stage – and has particularly good chemistry with Drew Cash. In fact, it is the chemistry between these two actors that stands out from the moment they meet to the moment the play ends, making us, in the process, believers of their cause.


June 1-9, 2012 @ 8:00 p.m. 

Theatre [502]

Victor Jory Theatre at Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 W Main Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202 
Discounted parking of $8 in the Actors Theatre garage. The garage is exclusive to theatre patrons (even when there’s an event at the Yum! Center).

Tickets are $15.

To reserve tickets in advance, email info@theatre502.org. Be sure to check out our great membership deals and additional information at www.theatre502.org.