By Holli Harms

Witnessing the act of falling in love is a remembrance of an incredible feeling I hope you’ve all had, just as seeing an innocent baby chick can’t help but bring up vulnerability and hope for the future. It is that beginning, the initial falling, not the already fallen, but the falling that you are witness to at the U.S. premiere of Rita Kalnejais’ exquisite play, This Beautiful Future.

Elodie (the spunky and breathtaking Francesca Carpanini) and Otto (the heart-wrenching Justin Mark) are in the middle of World War II France. Elodie is French. Otto German, a German soldier. They meet in Elodie’s town the Germans are occupying and they plan a clandestine evening at a house deep in the woods. It is there they truly start to fall for one another, their innocent young love, a joyful, playful, new birth offset to the finality of war that is happening just outside the doors. We are falling with them. “Love is like falling and falling is like this”, Ani DiFranco sings, and this is that falling.

It is a memory play remembered by two older lovers played with pluck and merry by the marvelous Austin Pendleton and Angelina Fiordellisi! They remember with us and reflect in song as Elodie and Otto pillow fight to find a future in the dark futureless murk of war. They watch and sing of the power of love conjuring up Springsteen and Adele.

Kalnejais has created a play that defies genre, defies boxes that want to designate it. It is its own entity.

All this love and falling will come at a price. A world war cannot be kept away forever. The doors will have their hinges blown off, the lovers their ideas, beliefs, and innocent hopes assassinated. They cannot stay in this place forever. None of us ever can. Life will not allow it. I don’t want to say too much because there are depths and surprises that are best discovered in the moment.

Theaterlab’s theater is a wonderfully open, white box space that works to bring pieces just like This Beautiful Future to New York audiences. Exciting nontraditional theater that explores language and art. Head up to its location on the third floor and fall in love.

This Beautiful Future US Premiere by Rita Kalnejais, beautifully directed by Jack Serio.

With: Francesca Carpanini, Justin Mark, Austin Pendleton, and Angelina Fiordellisi

Creative team for U.S. premiere: Frank J. Oliva (scenic design), Stacey Derosier (lighting design), Ricky Reynoso (costume design), Christopher Darbassie (sound design), Lacey Erb (projection designer), Emily Erickson (music director), and Kerry Concannon (production stage manager).

Eleven performances of This Beautiful Future will take place January 13–30, 2022, at Theaterlab, located at 357 W 36th Street, 3rd Floor in Manhattan.

The performance schedule is Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, no performance on January 29, and a 2pm curtain time on January 30. General admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at or by calling (212) 929.2545.

Please visit for more information.

Running time: 70 minutes with no intermission

All patrons must show proof of a Covid booster shot for all those eligible to receive it. Those not yet eligible will be required to show proof of vaccination. Additionally, all audience members must wear an N95 or KN95 mask at all times. Cloth masks will not be permitted and KN95 masks will be available on request. The venue has also been outfitted with an updated air filtration system and air purifiers.