For the first time, all of the UTF presentations take place at the Public Theater, which was renovated this year. Running through Jan. 20 the festival features works from the U.S., Iran, Belarus, the Netherlands, China, Japan and Australia.
Here's the Under the Radar programming at a glance:
Written by Christina Anderson
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
Performed by April Matthis
"In Hollow Roots, a woman traverses a nameless urban landscape plagued by a question: can a person of color have a 'neutral narrative'? A spare and intimate setting evolves into a vivid world painted in detailed observations and marked by memories, music, maps, and circumstance. Tapping into the rich and complicated genre of one person plays by writers such as Wallace Shawn and Spalding Grey, Hollow Roots asks the question - can someone live a life unaffected by one’s race or gender?"
Ganesh Versus the Third Reich
Back to Back Theatre
Directed by Bruce Gladwin
Devised by Mark Deans, Marcia Ferguson, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Scott Price, Kate Sulan, Brian Tilley, and David Woods
"Ganesh Versus the Third Reich begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh traveling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol. As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey, a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation."
Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker
Belarus Free Theatre
Concept, Aadaptation and direction by Uladizmir Shcherban
Devised by Belarus Free Theatre
Edited by Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin
"If scars are sexy, Minsk is the sexiest city in the world. In Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker, strip clubs, underground raves and gay pride parades pulse beneath the surface of a city where sexuality is twisted by oppression. In this raw and provocative production, BFT presents a potent lament for a country that has lost its way." Blood Play
By The Debate Society
Written by Paul Thureen and Hannah Bos
Directed and developed by Oliver Butler
"In the tranquil Chicago suburbs in the early 1950s, the kids are away camping with their Jr. Cherokee Troop, and a string of coincidences yields a spontaneous grown-up party. In the basement of a brand-new ranch house, exotic cocktails like 'Rapupu Sours' are sampled, games like 'Bee Pee Bo' are played and new friends like Jeep, the door-to-door photographer, are made. But things are happening that no one is talking about, and something is stirring underground. For their seventh full-length work, the New York based company The Debate Society has created a darkly comic thriller of post-war verve and pre-adolescent disquiet."
C'est du Chinois
"'Thank you for your interest to learn Mandarin. It is a good investment of your time.' Meet the Yao and Lu families from Shanghai, determined to reinvent themselves in a new country. The only language they speak is Mandarin, but that will not stand in the way of a productive exchange with their audience. In this highly original production, we learn basic comprehension of the Mandarin language, just enough to decipher their unfolding story. 'C'est du Chinois' is a French expression, meaning 'it's all Greek to me' (literally, 'it's Chinese'), indicating that something is impossible to understand. The equivalent of this idiom in Mandarin is 聽起來像火星話 (literally, 'sound like Mars language')."
Elevator Repair Service
Directed by John Collins
Created and performed by Elevator Repair Service
Elevator Repair Service (Gatz) presents their latest work in progress – Arguendo. In Barnes v. Glen Theatre, a 1991 First Amendment case brought by a group of go-go dancers, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court debate whether dancing naked in a strip club is an exercise of artistic expression or a crime. In Arguendo, ERS presents the case's oral argument, verbatim, revealing a compelling intellectual struggle and the court's often-absurd sense of humor."
Hamlet, Prince of Grief
Leev Theater Group
Directed by Mohammad Aghebati
Written by Mohammad Charmshir
"Using household objects and children's toys to play out his family's history of betrayal and death, in Hamlet, Prince of Grief, Shakepeare's tragic hero comes to terms with his violent fate through an obsessive retelling of the moments that preceded the tragedy." Featuring Iranian actor, Afshin Hashemi.
A 20th Century Abridged Concert of the History of Popular Music
"Over the next two years, a bedazzled creature builds a community by singing 24 concerts of the last 24 decades of popular music. Ultimately all 24 concerts will be stitched together culminating in a 24-hour long extravaganza. To help prepare for the big concert, Taylor Mac, called and his band will be performing an abridged version: music from the 20th century."
Life and Times: Episodes 1-4
Nature Theater of Oklahoma
Conceived and directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper
Produced by Soho Rep
"When can the ordinary become extraordinary and the mundane monumental? 'Epic stories need epic forms,' says Nature Theater of Oklahoma, making their triumphant homecoming with this bold, exuberant 11-hour celebration of the most epic story of all: life. Life and Times: Episodes 1-4 charts one person's account of their own life from earliest memory through adolescence through music, movement, and mystery. It’s about you, too!"
2 Dimensional Life of Her
Fleur Elise Noble
Concept, direction, set design and performance by Fleur Elise Noble
Produced by Insite Arts
"An enchanting mix of drawing, animation, puppetry, projection and paper, 2 Dimensional Life of Her is a richly imagined performance installation set in an artist's studio. Fleur Elise Noble creates a parallel world in which everything thought to be flat becomes something else. In this illusionary, captivating and cheeky work, visual tensions build and realities pile up - until the artist loses control of her creations and absolutely anything becomes possible…"
Zero Cost House
Pig Iron Theatre Company and Toshiki Okada
Directed by Dan Rothenberg
"A stripped-down work of anti-theater from Pig Iron Theatre Company and Toshiki Okada, Zero Cost House is a meditation on how Henry David Thoreau's 'Walden Pond' changed a man's life; on the disruptions and re-imaginings that accompany a national disaster; and on the uneasy compromises between radical idealism and contemporary living. An unusual, cerebral work of autobiography brings together Okada's sly, idiosyncratic writing and Pig Iron's precise, physical performance spirit."
Written by Lemon Andersen
Directed by Elise Thoron
"A reading of Andersen's new play, ToasT, celebrates the poetic history of black oral narratives called 'toasts' and re-imagines Dolomite, Stackolee, Annabelle Jones, Jesse James and other legendary folklore heroes in Attica prison where a riot is brewing."
All single tickets to festival shows are $20. For tickets phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.
For times and reservation information, visit undertheradarfestival.com.