New York Theater: UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL 2021 (Public)

Post image for New York Theater: UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL 2021 (Public)

by Eve Meadows on December 18, 2020

in Theater-New York


This popular and highly-anticipated festival of The Public’s winter season will include artists from across the U.S. and around the world, including Chile, Iran, and the U.K. Curated by UTR Festival Director Mark Russell, this year’s free UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL will feature an exciting mix of innovative artists including 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Javaad Alipoor, Inua Ellams, Trinidad González, Alicia Hall Moran, Piehole, and Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall. This robust line-up of digital livestream and streaming on-demand performances starts December 21, 2020, with A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call. RSVP for free festival events through The Public’s website.

Over the last 17 years, The Public’s UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL has grown into a landmark of the New York City theater season and is a vital part of The Public’s mission, providing a high-visibility platform to support artists from diverse backgrounds who are redefining the act of making theater. Widely recognized as a premier launching pad for new and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad, UTR has presented works by such respected artists as Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Tania El Khoury, Belarus Free Theatre, Guillermo Calderón, Toshi Reagon, Taylor Mac, and Daniel Fish. These artists provide a snapshot of contemporary theater: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice, and pointing to the future of the art form.


Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone of 600 Highwaymen, creators of A THOUSAND WAYS.
Photo by Tei Blow.

A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call
December 21-January 17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Live Phone Call
Written and Created by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone

Pick up the phone. Someone is on the line. You don’t know their name, and you still won’t when the hour is over, but through this exchange – as you follow a thread of automated prompts – a portrait of your partner will emerge through fleeting moments of exposure. A THOUSAND WAYS (PART ONE): A PHONE CALL is the first of an eventual three-part series by Obie Award-winning theatermakers, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, known for exhilarating performances that challenge the very definition of theater. Taking place around the world, A THOUSAND WAYS explores the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity, and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical.

A scene from CAPSULE. Photo by Melissa Bunni Elian.

January 6-17 (Running Time: 50 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand at
By Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall (U.S.)
Directed and Produced by Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky

Inspired by the past year CAPSULE is a kaleidoscopic reflection on isolation and longing, about breaking apart and breaking free and the impossible nature of connection. Through original text and music, Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall grapple with race, the medium of film, and being caught up in the maelstrom of 2020. In a society that insists on blunt, binary responses to complex questions, CAPSULE is a clarion call in favor of curiosity and abstraction.

A scene from ESPIRITU. Photo by Felipe Fredes.

January 6-17 (Running Time: 35 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand
By Teatro Anónimo (Chile)
Written and Directed by Trinidad González
Performed in Spanish with English subtitles

Created by Teatro Anónimo and directed by Trinidad GonzálezESPÍRITU is a journey through diverse stories that happen during the night of an unknown city, that involve anonymous individuals marked by the spiritual crisis unleashed by the wild consumerism of the times and the exploitation of the neoliberal model in people’s consciousness, through power and the manipulation of their desires. The lack of answers that transcend money and the offer of material possessions will lead these characters to want to find the hidden devil that inhabits the city, and to catch it in a bottle.


Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
January 7-10, 14-17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online
Written by Javaad Alipoor (U.K./Iran)
Co-Created by Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley
Produced by The Javaad Alipoor Company

The global gap between rich and poor has never been greater. As the world decays, the spawn of the powerful dance like everyone is watching. Winner of the 2019 Scotsman Fringe First Award, RICH KIDS is a darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, that explores the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart. Combining digital theater and a live Instagram feed, it is the sequel to the award-winning The Believers Are But Brothers, and the second part of a trilogy of plays from Javaad Alipoor about how digital technology, resentment and fracturing identities are changing the world.

A scene from BORDERS & CROSSINGS. Photo by Caleb Femi.

Borders & Crossings
January 7-10 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online
By Inua Ellams (U.K.)
Produced by Fuel

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother against a backdrop of sectarian violence, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London. An award-winning poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist, and designer, Inua returns to the theme of migration in his work, exploring his own life experiences and wider global and political questions. BORDERS & CROSSINGS is an opportunity to get to know Inua and hear some of his poetic and dramatic work on this theme, live and online from London.

A scene from DISCLAIMER. Photo by Maria Baranova.

January 7-11, 14-17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online
Written by Tara Ahmadinejad
Created by Piehole (U.S.)

On a seemingly perpetual brink of war with Iran, Chef Nargis hosts a cooking class aimed to prevent the unthinkable. Without a clear path, she hopes that some good ole fashioned empathy might do the trick, in the face of the ever palpable doom and destruction. Inspired by a real-life Iranian-New-Year-themed murder mystery party hosted by collaborative collective Piehole member Tara Ahmadinejad, DISCLAIMER examines identity and fear, the stakes of cultural (mis)representation, the quest for presence, and the seductiveness of murder mysteries.

Scene from the motown project. Photo by Joseph P Alvarado, edited by Lance Cain

the motown project
January 8-17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand
By Alicia Hall Moran (U.S.)
Presented by Joe’s Pub

Musical traditions yearning for each other across race, class, and nation grace Alicia Hall Moran’s meditation on the Motown songbook – a cinematic, movement-based aria fusing Sugar Pie Honey Bunch with Mozart while Marvin Gaye’s lyrical pathos finds solemnity in Purcell. Featuring Thomas Flippin (guitar), Steven Herring (vocals), Barrington Lee (vocals), and Reggie Washington (bass) in collaboration with choreographer Amy Hall Garnerthe motown project reimagines Motor City poetics in a study of desire and infatuation only soul and opera embodied by one chanteuse could endure.

Devised Theater Working Group’s INCOMING!
January 6-17 (Running Time: 30 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand
By The Devised Theater Working Group Cohort Members: Savon Bartley, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Eric Lockley, Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Mia Rovegno, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, and Mariana Valencia

This year, The PubIic Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group was challenged to create individual digital expressions for a group compilation video: INCOMING! Immediate, made for the here and now, this 30-minute video will show short pieces from all eight members of this cohort.


Under the Radar Symposium: A Creative Summit returns on January 7 at 10:00am EST, a half-day event featuring conversations and panels about the field at this moment in time, as well as a keynote by spoken-word poet, educator, and performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who serves as the Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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