New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 7 – 18, 2015)
As a high-visibility international theater festival for mainly smaller-scale theater productions by emerging theater makers, “Under the Radar” has presented over 181 companies from 39 countries in the last ten years and has grown into a landmark of the New York City winter theater season. Now in its 11th holding, the 2015 festival presented 12 works from seven countries during its run from January 7 to 18.
The opening performance at the festival’s main venue, The Public theater, was Argentine playwright and director Mariano Pensotti’s “filmic drama” Cineastas. Set in Buenos Aires, it is an intricate portrait of a city and its inhabitants, in which a movie screenwriter and a handful of actors shift between the characters’ real lives and their films. Also, in another venue, La Mama, the Brazilian company Companhia Hiato presented O Jardim, a story about the history of a family over three generations.
Other works on the program include Daniel Fish’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, a part sporting event, part theatrical séance based on audio recordings of writer David Foster Wallace that deals with the American obsession with entertainment; the Mehr Theatre Group’s Timeloss, a fictionalized reunion ten years later of the two actors from the group’s 2004 debut play, Dance on Glasses; and the British performance group Stan’s Café’s The Cardinals, a work that races through key scenes from the Bible and the Crusades with their trademark wry humor.
Also, in a collaborative program with La Mama, the new Devised Theater Working Group project that began this year as an experimental program gives playwrights support to work on their plays. This time, eight playwrights or performance groups largely from the New York area, including Lucy Alibar and the Deconstructive Theatre Project participated and gave public performances of their works in progress.
During the festival’s run there were also related programs including after-performance talks, symposiums, discussions and the like.
The festival premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in 2005 and moved its main venue to The Public Theater the following year. The founder of Under the Radar is Mark Russell, long-time director of New York’s PS122 and a leader in the New York arts scene. The festival presents artists ranging from emerging talents to masters in the field and attempts to offer programs of the latest works of theater that are exciting, independent, and experimental. It is known for seeking new creation born of the clash of completely different styles and genres, and besides invited works the festival also provides the opportunity for artists from America and abroad to collaborate in creation. Past festivals have seen performances by Japanese artists including NODA MAP and chelfitsch. The artistic director is Oskar Eustis and curation is by Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang.
- Under the Radar Festival