An energetic mash-up of hip-hop, video-game geekery and self-exploration, the nerdcore musical You Are in an Open Field is the brainchild of the Neo-Futurists. It’s a giddy, casual and at times amateurish affair, with a set that looks like a basement rec room resurrected from the ’80s, Atari, dusty couch and all.
The three performers portray versions of themselves, and act out their favorite old-school role-playing games (Zelda, Minecraft and Zork, which is where the title comes from). But the phrase you are in an open field—repeated ad nauseam throughout the show in a robotic monotone—has a deeper significance. They’re sitting there with their whole lives ahead of them. Are they going to get up off the sofa and pursue their dreams, or continue to live in a fantasy world?
While their tales of being ostracized and bullied (by the kickball kids, of course) aren’t particularly novel, anyone can relate. And the trio is mostly charming—especially Kevin R. Free, who steals the show as a rotund smart brother with a penchant for rhymes. It’s refreshing to see a show with more than random retro-pop-culture references and meta winks on its mind; it’s just a shame that the production feels so slapdash. The creative team should have put as many hours into the writing as it did into gaming.—Raven Snook