Fifth Annual Under the Radar Festival Begins at the Public Theater Jan. 7 | Playbill

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News Fifth Annual Under the Radar Festival Begins at the Public Theater Jan. 7 COUNTY OF KINGS, Transition and LIGA, 50% reward & 50% punishment launch the fifth annual Under the Radar festival at the Public Theater Jan. 7.

The annual 12-day festival delivers a cross section of new theatre from around the world that spotlights artists "ranging from emerging talents to masters in the field." Sixteen new works, including partner productions across Manhattan, comprise the 2009 line-up that is produced by the Public, Mark Russell and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Under the Radar 2009 continues through Jan. 18.

Among the productions and theatre companies taking part are:

photo by Yi Zhao
Created by the TEAM
Presented by The TEAM and the National Theatre of Scotland
"A musical, time-bending multimedia requiem for modern America that weaves through the country's past, present and future. Athletic physicality crashes against text and hoop skirts in this saga about the reconstruction of nations and selves." (Jan. 9-18)
photo by Nate Henry-Silva
COUNTY OF KINGS: the beautiful struggle
Written and performed by Lemon Anderson
Developed and directed by Elise Thoron
Presented by the Public Theater in association with American Place Theater
"Brooklyn based hip-hop artist Lemon spins his version of the coming-of-age memoir with this jarring and poignant performance. From hard-edged drama to urban poetry, COUNTY OF KINGS is a true story of finding passion and purpose in life, against all odds." (Jan. 7-18)
photo by Ros Kavanagh
First Love
By Samuel Beckett
Performed by Conor Lovett and directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett
Presented by Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland
"One of Samuel Beckett's early novellas, First Love contains much of his distinctive black humour and a plot that is regarded as a masterpiece of Beckettian perversity. A young man, expelled from the family home, takes refuge on a bench by a canal. There he meets a woman who takes him home, with comically disastrous consequences." (Jan. 9-18)
photo by Scott James
Into The Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest
Created by Holcombe Waller
Performed by Holcombe Waller and the Healers
"Folk singer Holcombe Waller presents a music theater experience about moving, storage and, of course, crushes on sexy people. He holds a potent mirror to his generation, tracing an elusive but vitally tenable sense of hope and renewal." (Jan. 8-18)
photo by Klaas Paradies
LIGA, 50% reward & 50% punishment
Presented and performed by Kassys
"LIGA starts with the end on video. A live 'flashback' follows as the actors learn to pretend. Young and easily influenced, their human need to conform makes them susceptible to manipulation." (Jan. 7-18)
photo by Tim Etchells
Sight is the sense that dying people tend to lose first
Written and directed by Tim Etchells
Performed by Jim Fletcher
"Sight is the sense… is a long, free-associating monologue that tumbles from topic to topic to create a vast failing explanation of the world. Comical in its apparent naiveté and preposterously encyclopedic in scope, it exposes the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to define everything that it encounters." (Jan. 8-11)
photo by Umi Vaughn
the break/s: a mixtape for stage
Performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph for The Living Word Project
Directed by Michael John Garcés and produced by MAPP International Productions
"A multimedia choreographed excursion across planet hip-hop, the break/s dramatically recreates the living history of the hip-hop generation through the personal narrative of poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph." (Jan. 8-17)
photo by Noah Kalina
Performed by Reggie Watts
Created by Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith
Directed by Tommy Smith
"Reality is boring. Drugs are harmful. How does one escape? Reggie Watts knows. Take a trip with Transition, a cutting-edge comedic explosion of stereophonic effects and multimedia interactions." (Jan. 7-17)
photo by Choi EunSun
Presented and performed by Sadari Movement Laboratory in association with AsiaNow
"In this gripping, stripped-down version from Korea, wooden chairs are used as a changeable metaphor, while Astor Piazzolla's tango music pulses throughout, revealing the characters' emotional states with shattering clarity and force." (Jan. 9-15) Partner productions for Under the Radar include Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century, Call Cutta In A Box, England, Pataphysics Penyeach: Summa Dramatica/Porco Morto, Removable Parts, Siren and The Crumb Trail.

The previously announced production of 3 Years, 8 Months, 20 Days has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, according to the Public Theater.

For tickets to the fifth annual Under the Radar festival phone (212) 539-8750 or visit

The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.

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