Song for a Future Generation

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Photo Source: John Alexander
For a prime example of the sci-fi spectacle dance-party play genre, look to the Management and Horse Trade Theater Group's production of Joe Tracz's "Song for a Future Generation." Yes, that title is shared by a B-52s single, and that's no coincidence. Like far too many depictions of the future, this one looks remarkably like the 1980s, complete with Day-Glo scenery, spandex outfits, and a New Wave soundtrack.

This dance party lifts off with bounty hunters, time travelers, and psychics gathering aboard a spaceship. The hosts are three nonidentical clones named Marika, and the occasion is the impending explosion of a nearby star. There's more than mundane shimmying and shaking at this fete, however, thanks to the expertly choreographed and enthusiastically danced full-ensemble numbers of Nicole Beerman. In these synchronized step sessions, the 13-member cast is an asset to the play. Those numbers become a liability, though, when each character has to compete for the audience's attention and prove why his, her, or its story line is worth following.

While many characters are portrayed as stock renditions of mobsters, dudes, Russian spies, and eggheads, a few performances rise above '80s B-movie fare. Tara Giordano's Marika 3 is a giddy sorority girl–type who is wiser than she appears. As the post-cognitive psychic Thena, Cal Shook powerfully conveys how burdensome it is to know the failures and triumphs of entire civilizations. Nick Lewis is the real belle of this ball, though, as a man genetically engineered to time travel. He meets and loses a special girl, Tess, on his travels. Unable to return to any time he's visited previously, he charmingly bumbles around in search of her and that wonderful sense of connection he felt.

Lewis' character might be named Error, but it would be far from a mistake for Tracz to focus on him more in future, slightly less Day-Gloed, iterations of this work.

Presented by the Management and Horse Trade Theater Group at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, NYC. May 19–15. Thu. and Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. (212) 868-4444 or