New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 6 – 17, 2016)
Known for its annual programs of the most cutting-edge performing arts in the U.S., the Under the Radar international theater festival was held again this year with the New York Public Theater as its main venue. Currently, the festival’s co-directors are the festival’s founder Marl Russell and the director and playwright Meiyin Wang.
The program is composed of the Main Program, introducing cutting-edge and experimental performing arts groups from the U.S. and abroad, the In Concert program introducing artists active on the borderline between theater and experimental music, the Incoming program introducing young directors and choreographer and the Other Events program.
On the Main Program this year were the Off-Broadway Theater Award-winning company 600 Highwaymen (established in 2009), the leading US post-drama theater group now performing regularly in Paris, Germany and the Netherlands. They performed Employee of the Year (winner of the Swiss ZKB Patron Award), a play involving five young girls talking about life. Also from the U.S. was the technology art group Early Morning Opera performing The Institute of Memory. Portrayed in it, using a sculpture with LED illumination technology in it that translates the sound of typing on a 1950s typewriter into moving light and an MRI scanner data, is the memories of the father of Jan Raas, who was a secret agent during the Cold War years.
Works from abroad included Guillerermo Calderon’ Escuela, a work revealing the realities of the era of the Chilean dictator Pinochet’s military regime; Halory Goerger and Antoine Dufour’s Germinal, which was also performed in Japan in Yokohama in September of 2015; Samedi Détente, a work that deals with the ethnic genocide in Rwanda in 1994, combining song, and narrative performed by Dorothée Munyaneza; and Toshiki Okada’s God Bless Baseball, which premiered at the Gwangju Asian Arts Theatre. Also, on the Incoming program was the work Club Diamond by Japanese choreographers Saori Tsukada and Nikki Appino.
This festival is held in New York at the same time as the APAP arts market and takes the New York Public Theater as its main venue. The festival premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in 2005 and moved its main venue to The Public Theater the following year and began inviting works from abroad. By 2009, some 52 works from 14 countries were presented. Also on its programs are works produced jointly with such leading internationally acclaimed American artists and companies as SITI Company, Elevator Repair Service and Nature Theater of Oklahoma, among others. The founder of Under the Radar is Mark Russell, long-time director of New York’s PS122 and leader in the New York arts scene who afterward served as artistic director of Portland’s Time-Based Arts Festival (2006-08) and remains one of North America’s important presenters of contemporary performing arts.
- Under the Radar Festival