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March 29, 2017
Review: Steve of Tomorrow

Credit: Maria Baranova
Scott and Ralph live together but might as well be continents apart. Even when they’re sitting next to each other, they are glued to their devices: Scott to his phone on which he types furiously at all times, and Ralph to his laptop where he’s updating his sci-fi blog and engaging in arguments with trolls. A fierce believer of time travel, Ralph figures the best way he can prove he’s right is by hosting a time traveler, so he posts an invitation (with his home coordinates) hoping someone will show up. His message is answered almost instantly when Steve shows up at his door, he’s an eccentric young man who claims to be from the future. Even though Ralph has a million questions for him, Steve’s M.O. is utter apathy, he’s only there to do research on a super hurricane created by a greedy corporation.

With the richly imaginative Steve of Tomorrow, David Commander and Rob Ramirez, have not only created a biting satire about millennial disaffect, but also an enchanting nostalgia trip, as they make use of artifacts audience members will remember from their childhoods; props made out of cardboard, action figures from recognizable sagas repurposed as TV news anchors and celebrities, computer screens given new life as puppets...all of the elements in the show recall the past while telling a futuristic tale.

At the center of the play are the three puppets with screen heads on which Commander, Ramirez and Lisa Clair bring the three main characters to life. Seeing their droll facial expressions and listening to their unique vocal performances makes for yet another level of wonder, as the show becomes about the magic of making live entertainment. Through chroma and green screens, we are transported to faraway places “in real time”, in fact peeking towards stage right, one might see the tech people living out their own version of Broadcast News, pushing buttons and moving things in screens to make sure the performance goes as planned. Even with its message of impending climate chaos and societal apathy, with its DIY lovableness Steve of Tomorrow can’t help but feel optimistic.

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Written by: Jose Solis
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