Curated by Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang, the Under the Radar Festival includes theatrical performances, concerts, discussions and workshops with cutting-edge artists. This year, Under the Radar will launch the new Devised Theater Working Group, which will present eight works-in-process as part of the festival’s Incoming! Series.
The festival, which runs through Jan. 18, takes place at The Public Theater, La MaMa and New York Live Arts.
"The most exciting 12 days in the New York theater season have arrived," said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis in a statement. "Under the Radar has spent over 10 years bringing cutting-edge work from around the globe to the stages of The Public Theater, and this year promises to be the most surprising set of offerings we have yet seen."
Select UTR programming, presented at the Public Theater, follows:
Stan's Cafe (UK)
"Three cardinals are on an evangelical mission to broaden knowledge of the Bible – through their traveling puppet theater. But when their puppets go missing, they must take to the stage themselves. With the assistance of their ever-tolerant female Muslim stage manager, they race through key scenes from the Bible, famous incidents from the Crusades, and finally bring us to the contemporary Middle East. With their trademark humor and ingenious approach to form, Stan's Cafe brings us a hilarious and strangely moving reflection on faith, belief, and theater. Stan's Cafe collaboratively devise shows that playfully twist theatre out of shape in order to help people see their world in a new way. Formed in Birmingham, UK in 1991, the company has produced a dizzying range of shows in a wild range of settings." Cineastas
"Mariano Pensotti's 'filmic drama' threads together the lives of four filmmakers over the course of a year in Buenos Aires. In this intricate portrait of a city and its inhabitants, a handful of actors fluidly shift between the characters’ real lives and their films on an elaborate split-screen set. By adapting cinematic techniques—voice-over, cross-fades, long takes—Pensotti crafts an epic tale of love, money, work, and art. Do our fictions reflect the world, or is the world a distorted projection of our fictions?"
Mehr Theatre Group/Amir Reza Koohestani
"2004: The young Iranian theatermaker Amir Reza Koohestani makes his international debut with Dance on Glasses, a subtle and candid portrayal of the end of young love. 2014: Koohestani creates a fictionalized reunion of the actors from Dance on Glasses. Having separated in the intervening years, they must confront the distance between their personal biographies and collective histories in this intimate portrait of Iranian life. Amir Reza Koohestani is one of Iran’s most successful and prolific playwright-directors. His 2004 play Dance on Glasses won international acclaim and toured for four years."
The Triumph of Fame
"In a one-on-one performance inspired by the Italian poet Petrarch’s “i Trionfi,” Swiss choreographer Marie-Caroline Hominal welcomes her guest backstage in a hidden corner of The Public Theater, where she creates a vulnerable moment of intimacy between spectator and performer. Marie-Caroline Hominal is a Swiss choreographer and dancer. She makes work that incorporates dance, text, songwriting, music, and video."
A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again
"Tennis balls fly as four actors wrestle with the relentless rush of words streaming from their headphones. Part sporting event, part theatrical séance, A Supposedly Fun Thing... draws exclusively from audio recordings of writer David Foster Wallace, mixed live during each performance. Director Daniel Fish and a small ensemble of actors seek to recreate the amazing presence Wallace brought to everything he wrote about, be it a luxury cruise, a boy’s 13th birthday, or America’s obsession with entertainment. Daniel Fish is a director who works in theater, opera, and film."
Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: The Concert Version
"Singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon brings her genre-bending music and irresistible performance style to Under the Radar with a work-in-progress concert of her new opera, written in collaboration with Bernice Johnson Reagon. Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower, adapted from Octavia Butler’s post-apocalyptic novel, follows a young woman fleeing the violence of a futuristic Los Angeles in this fable that blends science fiction with African-American spiritualism and deep insights on gender, race, and the future of human civilization."
"The performer is present. In an attempt to channel the illusory presence of the artist, avowed disinformationist Reggie Watts invites you to sit across from him. But just for five minutes. Reggie Watts is an internationally renowned vocalist/beatboxer/musician/comedian/improviser who amazes audiences with his unpredictable performances, which are created on the spot using only his formidable voice and looping pedals."
Ike at Night
In Ike at Night, remarkable performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu, described as the son that Woody Allen and Frank Sinatra never had, hosts a late-night talk show of comedy, interviews, and music in front of a live studio audience – you. The show, fresh from an extended, sold-out run at Brooklyn venue JACK, features Jonathan Jacobs, aka The Vintage DJ, as the 'bandleader,' and B. Brian Argotsinger as Ike’s side-kick. Ikechukwu Ufomadu is an actor, comedian, and entertainer."
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900-1950's
Jan. 13-17 (at New York Live Arts)
"Taylor Mac is accompanied by a live band, dancing beauties, and special guests in his unique mash-up of music, history, performance, and art. As part of the Under the Radar Festival, Mac will cover the first three decades of the 20th century in one evening. These performances are part of Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900-1950s, culminating in a six-hour, six-decade marathon performance on January 25. Eventually, this work will become a 24-hour spectacle celebrating the last 240 years of popular music in America. An Obie Award-winner, Taylor Mac is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director and producer."
For tickets and complete schedule information, including the Incoming! series, visit undertheradarfestival.com.