Flea artistic director Jim Simpson stages the work, which began previews Jan. 21 for a run at the downtown company through Feb. 23. "At the top of Offending the Audience, a group of actors take the stage and announce that there will be no play. They are not characters. The stage does not represent another place. Time passes as it does in real life. There is no illusion," according to show notes. "The audience is asked to abandon every expectation, to be the subject of the actors' gaze the way that they are the subject of ours. So what will happen on stage? Offending the Audience combines caustic humor with deeply meaningful notions about theatre, life and death."
The work was penned in 1966 by Austrian author and director Peter Handke and played to much controversy among theatregoers. Other plays by the scribe include Kaspar, My Foot My Tutor, Prophecy, Self-Accusation and Cries for Help.
The Bats feature Raniah Al-Sayed, Ivory Aquino, Felipe Bonilla, Jon Cage, Jaime Carrillo, Dan Cozzens, Yung-I Chang, Erwin Falcon, Drew Hildebrand, Emily Hyberger, Alexis Macnab, Bobby Moreno, Lisa Pettersson, Rachael Richman, Erin Roth, John Russo, Sarah Sakaan, Annie Scott, Sarah Silk, Ronald Washington and Jeff Worden.
The Flea currently presents Will Eno's recently extended Oh, the Humanity and Other Exclamations (through Feb. 2). Next up for the company is Beau Willimon's Lower Ninth (Feb. 14-April 5) to star Gaius Charles ("Friday Night Lights"), Gbenga Akkinagbe ("The Wire") and James McDaniel ("NYPD Blue").
Tickets to Offending the Audience at The Flea Theater, 41 White Street (between Broadway and Church St.), are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or by visiting theflea.org.