Public Theater's 2014 Under the Radar Festival Launches Jan. 8

By Adam Hetrick
08 Jan 2014

 John Hodgman
John Hodgman

The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival launches Jan. 8 with performances at venues across New York City, including the Public Theater, La MaMa, Japan Society, St. Ann's Warehouse and The Freeman Space.

Curated by Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang, the Under the Radar Festival includes theatrical performances, concerts, discussions and workshops with cutting-edge artists. Among the participating artists are 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Lola Arias, Edgar Oliver, tg STAN, SKaGeN, Andrew Ondrejcak, John Hodgman, Sekou Sundiata, Roger Guenveur Smith and Toshi Reagon. Performances continue through Jan. 19. 

The Public has also announced that UTR co-director Wang has been named director of the Devised Theater Initiative, a year-round program that will invite "exceptionally talented theatre-makers at all stages of their careers to make their artistic home at the Public."

“Under the Radar has become a highlight of the New York theater season. Under the crazy, inspired leadership of Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang, it gives us news bulletins from the future of our culture,” said Public artistic director Oskar Eustis in a statement. “The creation of the Devised Theater Initiative is a great leap forward for The Public in its relationship to independent theater ensembles, in New York and internationally. We will now have a year-round effort to support the work of experimental theater artists, in all their diverse glory."



Programming follows:

The Record
Jan. 9-18
600 HIGHWAYMEN
"Forty-five strangers come together for 61 minutes to show us who they are, and who they could be. Part theater, part dance, part group hallucination – vivid human assembly on an epic scale. The subject is us; the time is now."

John Hodgman: I Stole Your Dad
Jan. 10-18
John Hodgman
"Author, comedian, and 'Daily Show' contributor John Hodgman presents new observations on subjects including how to dress like a young and relevant person, fax machines and other obsolete technology, marijuana and 'Downton Abbey,' the state songs of Tennessee, the film criticism of Ayn Rand, and how to spend your time when the world did not end like you were certain it would on December 21st of last year."

Helen & Edgar
Jan. 8-18
Written and performed by Edgar Oliver Directed by Catherine Burns
"The mesmerizing, hilarious and heartbreaking tale of Oliver and his sister Helen’s strange childhood in Savannah and their mother’s struggle with madness."

FEAST
Jan. 8-19
Written, directed and designed by Andrew Ondrejcak
Featuring Reg E. Cathey
"FEAST is the last meal of an era, carefully prepared during the collapse of the great empire of Babylon. As the King watches distractedly, his chorus of Concubines flail about with limb and language, devouring everything possible as they search for something, anything, to hold onto."

Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely: Sacred Stories
Jan. 19
Toshi Reagon
"Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely extend their love through the entire Public Theater on January 19 for her 30th annual birthday celebration. Reagon's annual birthday shows have become a staple of the New York performance ecosystem, and her performance at UTR will mark an incredible artist’s journey. Sacred Stories will celebrate the music of Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon in Robert Wilson's The Temptation of St. Anthony and Zinnias, as well as Reagon's own Lines - a Joe’s Pub commission as part of the inaugural New York Voices program."

BigMouth
Jan. 10-18
SKaGeN with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in a co-production with De Tijd and STUK
Directed and performed by Valentijn Dhaenens
"In a tour de force performance, Valentijn Dhaenens pays tribute to 2,500 years of oration. Ingeniously weaving together fragments of seminal speeches from the Grand Inquisitor and Socrates, to Muhammad Ali and Osama Bin Laden, BigMouth shows that the language of power and the tricks of the rhetorical trade have hardly changed."

JDX – a public enemy
Jan. 8-16
tg STAN
Text after Henrik Ibsen
By and with Jolente De Keersmaeker, Sara De Roo, Damiaan De Schrijver, Frank Vercruyssen, and prompter Stijn Van Opstal
"A tale of one man standing against the majority, JDX – a public enemy explodes from the text of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. Through their unique focus on pure acting, the acclaimed Belgian company exposes the dark pitfalls of democracy, first depicted more than a century ago and still all too relevant today."

Rodney King
Jan. 9-18
Roger Guenveur Smith
"In this riveting, improvised performance, Smith unravels the myth of the late Rodney King, revealing a man besieged by the Los Angeles Police Department and an unrelenting media spotlight. Smith's rhythm-charged narrative navigates King's fatal descent into his backyard pool, the peaceful punctuation to a life unwittingly distinguished by violence. 'Can we,' King implores from the deep end, 'all get along?'"

El Año en Que Nací (The Year I Was Born)
Jan. 8-13
Lola Arias
"With the youthful energy of a new generation, and bolstered by original live music, eleven Chileans born under Pinochet's dictatorship take to the stage to reconcile a collective history. Somewhere between stunt doubles and historians, they don their parents' clothes and reconstruct their past from photos, letters, and recordings in this raw and honest act of storytelling."

Black Out
Jan. 9-12
Compagnie Philippe Saire
"We watch, from above, as thousands of black granulated fragments transform the dancers' world into a moving, pictorial composition, that jars as it shifts in response to the light, sound, and movement. Evoking a strong sense of unexpected loss that examines the fragility of existence as well as the serendipity of life, Black Out contemplates the randomness of mortality in a world of genocide, disease, epidemics, and senseless violence."

Kate Tempest: Brand New Ancients
Jan. 10-19
By Kate Tempest
"Poet, playwright, and performer Kate Tempest uses hip-hop-infused rhythms and rhymes to weave an ultra-poetic story in a soulful style all her own."

The Room Nobody Knows
Jan. 8-12
Niwa Gekidan Penino
"Two brothers inhabit a mysterious, dreamlike apartment. On the day of the elder's birthday, the younger, who is supposed to be studying for college entrance exams, is preoccupied with creating unusual objects for the celebration. Meanwhile, in the upper room, the younger brother's alter egos–derived from his wild imagination and taking the form of two creatures, one with a sheep's head and another with pig features–help with the party preparations. Written and directed by psychiatrist turned most-talked-about theatre artist Kuro Tanino and performed by his company, Niwa Gekidan Penino, The Room Nobody Knows lures you into a weird, yet funny world hidden deep within the Tokyo metropolis."

Productions featured in the INCOMING! works in progress series follow:

Frankenstein
Jan. 10-19
Written and directed by Sean Edward Lewis
"Mary Shelley's monster has a mate and they are pissed! A new work-in-progress featuring Alexandra Tatarsky, Sean Edward Lewis, and Fletcher Liegerot, Frankenstein is theatre for the monster in you."

ETERNAL
Jan. 11
Daniel Fish
"Daniel Fish's elegantly spare, two-channel video in which Thomas Jay Ryan and Christina Rouner perform the final scene of the 2003 film, 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind,' in a continuous, wildly ranging loop for two hours. ETERNAL is the unedited video document of their performance."

The Baroness Is The Future
Jan. 12
ANIMALS
Created with Brighid Greene, Lucy Kaminsky, Madison Krekel, Eva Peskin, and Linda Mancini
"Exploding into incantation and dance, The Baroness is the Future unfolds the life and work of poetess, found object sculptor, and proto-Dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, whom Duchamp called simply, 'the future.'"

Scanning the Landscape
Jan. 11, 12, 18 and 19
"UTR and CULTUREBOT present a series of roundtable conversations on the most current and compelling ideas at work in the field of contemporary theatre and the conditions in which it is being made. Join leading practitioners, thinkers, and supporters of cutting-edge theatre for lively discussions on the state of the field and what the future might hold."

For tickets and complete schedule information visit undertheradarfestival.com.