2019 Under the Radar Festival starts this week (lineup & tix)
The 2019 edition of the Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival runs from January 3-13 at venues all over NYC, featuring cutting-edge theater, music. comedy, dance and more, with 21 acts from nine countries. This includes the "Joe's Pub: In Concert" series -- which is "re-engineering the intersection of music and theater" -- with Penny Arcade's show "Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore," The Illustrious Blacks' "Hyperbolic!," Australian musician and comedian Meow Meow, and The Chekhov Project’s "Astrov's Lounge."
There's also INCOMING!, Under the Radar’s festival within a festival, featuring "in-process works of artistic ambition by the wildly diverse artists of the Devised Theater Working Group." There's lots more, including puppets, Bay Area duo The Kilbanes, and Under the Radar Fest's first collaboration with The Met (James & Jerome - "INK"). Head to the Under the Radar Festival's site for tickets and more info, and check out the full 2019 lineup and schedule, including videos for all of this year's acts, below.
2019 UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL LINEUP & SCHEDULE
HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True (January 3, 5, 6 & 7 @ Martin Hall)
HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True is inspired by multi-generational stories of inequality and transformation. Combining song and dance with intimate portraits of resilience and resistance, the show celebrates women who have broken the culture of silence, challenged the status quo, and moved beyond barriers to achieve solutions.
MANUAL CINEMA: FRANKENSTEIN (January 3 - 12 @ LuEsther Hall)
Internationally-renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of FRANKENSTEIN with Mary Shelley’s own biography to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen.
AS FAR AS MY FINGERTIPS TAKE ME (January 4 - 13 @ Janice Levin Mezzanine)
AS FAR AS MY FINGERTIPS TAKE ME is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms touch without seeing each other. The refugee will mark the audience by drawing on their arm. The audience will listen to those who have recently challenged border discrimination. The marking can be kept or washed away.
Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey - [50/50] old school animation (January 4-13 @ LuEsther Hall
A classical ghost story for our contemporary moment, this deceptively simple confessional transforms into an unnerving reflection on womanhood, memes, and our capacity for cruelty. Created by Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey, [50/50] old school animation flirts with the horrific and dips into the surreal.
Rude Mechs (USA) - THE COLD RECORD (January 4-13 @ Classroom)
A secret performance. A one-man show. The story of a 12-year old boy who tries to set the record for leaving school the most days with a fever and in the process falls in love with the school nurse and breaks his heart on the punk rock. You must promise never to speak about what you witnessed or else you'll get kicked out.
Kirk Lynn is a novelist and playwright living in Austin, TX. Kirk is one of five artistic directors of the Rude Mechs theatre collective. With the Rudes, Kirk has written and adapted many plays, including Lipstick Traces, Method Gun, and Not Every Mountain, which premiered in 2018 at the Guthrie in Minneapolis.
New Saloon - MINOR CHARACTER (January 4-13 @ Martinson Hall)
New Saloon’s irreverent mashup of English-language translations of Uncle Vanya – from the dusty 1916 edition to Google Translate’s profoundly whack results – is a kaleidoscopic amplification of Chekhov's depressing comedy. Each character is interpreted by multiple actors and through multiple translations, in an athletic attempt to say one true thing. “I’ve been made a complete fool,” Vanya says, “foolishly betrayed,” Vanya agrees, “stupidly cheated,” Vanya clarifies.
JAMES & JEROME - INK (A Piece For Museums) (January 5 & 6 @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
INK is an art lecture, live personal essay, and electronic music concert all in one. With stunning visuals by media designer Shawn Duan, musician-storyteller duo James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis perform a lush live score as they lovingly analyze works from around the world, exploding the traditional art lecture into a unique theatrical experience—one that’s at once playful, intellectual, and spiritual. Together, they guide us through a meditation on calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts, on music and silence, and on Jerome’s intimate relationship to the spoken and written word, in this first ever collaboration between Under the Radar and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Flaco Navaja - EVOLUTION OF A SONERO (January 9, 12, 13 @ LuEsther Hall)
The first full-length show by acclaimed poet, singer, and actor Flaco Navaja, original member of the Universes and Def Poetry Jam cast. With unabashed love for The Bronx, a gift for crafting memorable characters, and genuine good humor, Navaja and five top-notch musicians —aka The Razor Blades— bring on the charm, the rhythm, and the soul essential to a Bronx Sonero. Paying homage to many great musical icons —from Janis Joplin to Menudo, from The Doors to Héctor Lavoe, from Jimi Hendrix to Rubén Blades— the play is as much about Navaja’s creative evolution as it is about the wild mix that gives life to a rhyme, a people, and a culture.
Plexus Polaire - CHAMBRE NOIRE (January 10-13 @ Martinson Hall)
CHAMBRE NOIRE is a wild hallucination around the death-bed of Valerie Jean Solanas (1936-1988): the most beautiful girl in America, the talented psychology student who spent her life going in and out of mental institutions, the first intellectual whore, writer, radical feminist, creator of the SCUM Manifesto, the woman who shot Andy Warhol… A character that is complex, multi-sided, outrageous, and absolutely human.
Inspired by Sara Stridsberg novel The Dream Faculty, this performance is a duet featuring celebrated puppeteer Yngvild Aspeli and percussionist Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen. With life-sized puppets, broken songs, video-projections, a good dose of humor, and a desert of solitude.
Lola Arias - MINEFIELD (January 11-13 @ NYU Skirball)
In her trademark political and playful style, Lola Arias brings together British and Argentinian veterans of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas war to share their first-hand experience of the conflict and life since. Digging deep into the personal impact of war, MINEFIELD is a collaboratively created new work that merges theatre and film to explore the minefield of memory, where truth and fiction collide.
The Kilbanes - WEIGHTLESS (January 11-13 @ BRIC House)
Part Concert, Part Play, Part Dream, WEIGHTLESS by The Kilbanes weaves together myth with evocative indie rock to tell a story of sisterhood, love, betrayal and rebirth. WEIGHTLESS is inspired by the story of Procne and Philomela from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Through intimate storytelling and The Kilbanes’ celebrated indie rock sound, WEIGHTLESS explores the bonds of sisterhood and the power of the female voice. It’s equal parts blistering rock show and bleeding edge experimental theater. Rock 'n' roll meets myth as only The Kilbanes can deliver.
The Chekhov Project - I AM A SEAGULL (January 5 @ SVA Theater)
I AM A SEAGULL follows a community of actors in their frenzied and loving attempt to stage a Chekhov play in their house, yard and neighborhood. This hybrid film documents The Chekhov Project: an annual, immersive, open-frame performance event created by Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman. Like the project itself, the film dissolves boundaries between audience and performer, representation and reality. Life and rehearsal blend together in this portrait of The Project’s production of The Seagull. Chekhov’s text is embodied by a handful of actors from New York City as they converge in an upstate lakeside retreat. Through juxtaposing phases of rehearsal, live performance and pure cinema this experience captures the idealism, contradictions and raw instinct that fuels theatre-making itself.
The Illustrious Blacks - HYPERBOLIC! (January 4, 12, 13 @ Joe's Pub)
The Illustrious Blacks have arrived to save the world one beat at a time! Once upon a time in a galaxy not far away, there lived two kings. Each was the ruler of his own deliciously glorious planet. The first king, Manchildblack, was well known throughout the cosmos for his ethereal vocals, celestial sonics, and earthy musical messages. The other king, Monstah Black, was a star in the solar system for his gravity defying performances, gender bending fashions, and spacey disposition. One magical night, an inexplicable ultra-magnetic pull forced the two planets to collide. A technicolored explosion occurred, turning night into day, with a feast of aural and visual delights. It was then that the universe was changed forever. Manchildblack and Monstah Black united and became The Illustrious Blacks!
MEOW MEOW ( January 2 & 5 @ Joe's Pub)
A performer who gleefully tramples the barriers of genre, Meow Meow defies easy description. International siren and comedienne extraordinaire Meow Meow brings her glorious brand of subversive and sublime performance to Joe’s Pub. The spectacular crowd-surfing queen of song creates an unforgettable evening of exquisite music and much mayhem. Prepare for Piazzolla tangos, Weill, Brecht, Brel, even Radiohead alongside original chansons. If your idea of cabaret is a smoky-voiced chanteuse crooning into a microphone, prepare to have your preconceptions exploded.
Penny Arcade - BITCH! DYKE! FAGHAG! WHORE! (January 3-13 @ Joe's Pub)
Penny Arcade is New York’s undisputed queen of the underground, and her world-famous sex and censorship show is among the most exuberant performances to ever emerge from New York’s East Village. Penny Arcade's BITCH! DYKE! FAGHAG! WHORE! blends her trademark warmth, comedy, humanism, and razor-sharp satire with New York’s best erotic dancers in an uplifting audience dance break. Originally created as a brilliant retort to the Senator Helms NEA Censorship Crisis of 1990, BITCH! DYKE! FAGHAG! WHORE! is a timeless 'rock n’ roll' anthem and a passionate and powerful plea for love and the full execution of our first amendment rights. It is a rallying-cry for our times.
The Chekhov Project - ASTROV’S LOUNGE: MUSIC FROM THE CHEKHOV PROJECT (January 5 @ Joe's Pub)
ASTROV’S LOUNGE: MUSIC FROM THE CHEKHOV PROJECT re-assembles the musicians of The Chekhov Project. Each summer, for one week, theater directors Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman open their Rockland County New York home to a grand experiment: A group of sixty, all professional theater-makers and musicians, gather in the house, yard and neighborhood to explore and explode a Chekhov play. The cramped garage, known as “Astrov’s Lounge,” becomes home to the eclectic group of musicians who respond to the work generating original songs and soundscapes for each performance. ‘Astrov’s Lounge: Music from The Chekhov Project’ re-collects these musicians for a multifarious musical set inspired by the rhythms of Chekhov’s words and folks.
Whitney White - MACBETH IN STRIDE (January 5 & 7 @ Shiva Theatre)
MACBETH IN STRIDE is a live concert and theatrical event that excavates the underbelly of female ambition. With throbbing orchestrations of vintage rock, White traces the fatalistic arc of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth while exorcizing demons of her own. One in a five-part series on Shakespeare's women, this concert play is a battle cry for black female power and desire.
Aya Ogawa - THE NOSEBLEED (January 5 & 9 @ Shiva Theater)
THE NOSEBLEED is an intimate autobiography that explores playwright/director Aya Ogawa’s fractured relationship with her long-deceased and enigmatic father. Through a series of turbulent, absurd, and poignantly comic vignettes, Ogawa reveals the seemingly insurmountable cultural and generational gap between herself and her father, and the questions she faces in her own motherhood today. A theatrical memorial and healing ritual for the audience, this darkly humorous, tender, and inventive play considers how we inherit and bequeath failure, and what it takes to forgive.
Eva von Schweinitz - THE SPACE BETWEEN THE LETTERS (January 5 & 10 @ Shiva Theater)
A dot of light turns into a line, into a shape, into words. Writing becomes a physical, virtuosic feat. Easels swirl in an intersectional flipchart ballet that unpacks the legal, social, and political dimensions of adult literacy in the United States. In this ensemble lecture, performers weave personal stories, handmade infographics, and histories of discrimination and disenfranchisement.
Sam Schanwald with Caitlin Ryan O'Connell - TWIN SIZE BEDS (January 6 & 11 @ Shiva Theater)
In an abandoned tree house, a limp-wristed boy hides during the neighborhood game of hide-and-seek. While he waits for a gang of metal-mouthed peers to find him, Sam’s newfound solitude spurs songs about nihilistic desire, and fuzzy hallucinations of his sexual future. TWIN SIZE BEDS is a concert-play that fuses deadpan stand-up with a hormone-fueled musical blitz. Grab a juice box. You might be stuck in that splintered hiding place forever.
Sean Donovan - CABIN (January 6 & 12 @ Shiva Theater)
CABIN is the reconstruction of a memory—the story of a queer couple who move from Brooklyn to a cabin in upstate New York, and of the violence that befalls them. Through monologue, film, dance, and music by Heather Christian, CABIN surveys the lines between myth and memoir, the complexity of intimacy, and the magnitude of loss.
LORELEI RAMIREZ: ALIVE! (FOR NOW) (January 6 & 13 @ Shiva Theater)
Take note: this may be the last time we will all be assembled in this room—some of us might die someday. Lorelei Ramirez's playful morbidity seeps through in this multi-media comedy special, which invites us all to be unsettled together in this unsettling moment. Crafting at the intersection of art and comedy, Lorelei perverts the familiar and profanes the sacred—all in pursuit of one last laugh.