February 1 — March 27, 2011
In the Ellyn Bye Studio

By Jordan Harrison
Directed by Kip Fagan

At the 2009 JAW reading, futura’s warnings about the extinction of print media (and its costs) seemed timely. Now, they seem downright spooky. What will it feel like by the time the show premieres in February? Jordan Harrison’s last trip to PCS launched a gender-bending, Drammy-Award winning hit with Act a Lady. This time he returns with a different axe to grind: the future of the words you are reading right now. And futura? Well, it’s a font; it’s a love story; but ultimately…it’s one rogue professor’s quest to avenge her missing husband – and the lost art of ink on paper.

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm
Thursday matinees at noon

A full list of performances and dates will appear when you enter the “Buy Tickets” section of the website.

Running time for futura is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

View the Cast and Creative Team Bios

Playbill for futura

Performance Times

Evenings: Tuesday - Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.,
Thursdays at noon

*Note: These are general performance times. Certain productions may have exceptions. View the season calendar for more information.

This show's run time will be posted below the synopsis at left near the date of the first performance.

Production blog

The futura of Typography?

14 March 2011 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

Good news! Typography is alive and well, thriving as it evolves. According to Steven Heller of The New York Times, it’s become a bona fide art form, with some artists and graphic designers turning typefaces into paintings and sculptures.The same can’t be said for typography in the not-so-distant future of futura, currently playing out in the Ellyn Bye Studio. As they say, any future is better than no future!


Marginalia: What Will We Be Missing?

10 March 2011 & Posted by Cynthia Fuhrman

In Sunday’s New York Times magazine, Sam Anderson’s article, “What I Really Want is Someone Rolling Around in the Text,” is a fascinating discussion about what we miss when we read e-books—in particular, what he calls the “metadata” about our reading—broken spines, dog-eared chapters, marginalia. Something to think about before, during and after you see futura.


Banned Books of the Past, Present and Futura

01 March 2011 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

In futura, the printed word is not only forbidden, but illegal. Simply put, books are banned. Completely censored. Unable to be read. Luckily, it takes place in the future. Or does it? While book-banning may sound like a throwback to Victorian times – or the synopsis of some horrific, futuristic dystopian novel, censoring books continues to flourish in the 21st-century.



Futura art & photos View on Flickr »

Artistic Director Chris Coleman and Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan discuss Futura. View on Vimeo »

Trailer for Futura. View on Vimeo »

Reviews and Features

Alison Hallett | The Portland Mercury [Review 10 Feb 2011]

The first scene of Jordan Harrison’s futura is wonderful: A professor (Lori Larsen) lectures on the history of typeface, introducing various fonts and explaining their aesthetics and evolution. It’s interesting material, presented engagingly, and a natural fit for letterpress-happy Portland. But wait—what’s that noise thrumming in the background of the professor’s speech? It’s “ozone stabilizers”? Uh oh. We’re in the future.

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Ben Waterhouse | Willamette Week [Review 09 Feb 2011]

Jordan Harrison’s dystopic sci-fi drama takes its name from Paul Renner’s sans-serif typeface, employed by Volkswagen, HP and, until recently, IKEA, but its subject is more PMN Caecilia, the default font on the Kindle. Harrison fears a future where the flow of information is controlled by corporations whose customers surrender their literary heritage and freedom of expression in the name of convenience. The bogeymen here is Amazon, which has no qualms about stealthily deleting works from its customers’ e-readers, or maybe Google, whose ubiquitous free online applications could make Orwellian surveillance a cinch. Harrison sees no silver lining to the Cloud.

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Marty Hughley | The Oregonian [Review 09 Feb 2011]

“I’m here to disappoint you with a lecture if you’ve come for a spectacle.” So says the Professor, who indeed does deliver a collegiate lecture for the first third of Jordan Harrison’s play “Futura,” which opened Friday in Portland Center Stage’s Ellyn Bye Studio.

But that lecture, which the Professor calls “From Pen to Pixel: a History of Typography,” is surprisingly riveting material, almost revelatory in the connections it draws between history, technology, shapes on paper and the nuances of written expression.

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For current and upcoming shows, please see our Season Calendar.

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