Remembering ‘The Future’

Rachel Wolff

Take a much-needed break from Dillo Day debauchery this weekend to check out “The Future (Revisited).” Performance studies professor Paul Edwards originally created and directed the show at Northwestern in April 1984, at the onset of the creation of the performance studies department itself.

This weekend, Edwards invites students and faculty to celebrate the 21st birthday of his show that creatively merges elements of literature, 1950s sci-fi and popular media. Edwards creates a cultural scrapbook that celebrates the ever-changing academic discipline of performance studies.

“The show is a collage script rooted in the metaphor of channel surfing, using both live actors and video projections to create this experience,” Edwards says. “We are asking ourselves and the audience: If Orwell’s ‘1984’ didn’t happen then, has it happened now?’ This isn’t adapting any of these works. It’s about what it meant to be alive in 1984 and what it means to be alive now.”

The cast includes members of Edward’s “Performing the Psychological Novel” class. The class began with an exploration of Edward’s various sources. They worked together to make thematic and textural adjustments to Edward’s original script.

“It seemed important to pause after 21 years of performance studies,” Edwards says. “The program continues to grow and change. We’ve been through childhood and adolescence — now we’re legal.”

“The Future (Revisited)” is playing at the Mussetter-Struble Theater in the Theatre and Interpretation Center Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and are available at the door.

— Rachel Wolff