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The Public Announces Under the Radar Festival Performances

The festival, running Jan. 6-17, 2021, will offer its productions virtually for free for the first time.

NEW YORK CITY: The Public Theater has announced the lineup for its 17th annual Under the Radar Festival, which will run Jan. 6-17, 2021. This year’s festival, curated by festival director Mark Russell, will stream virtually for free for the first time.

“The artists in this year’s Under the Radar Festival answer the unprecedented challenges of this time with fearlessness and heart,” said Russell in a statement. “We have created a festival where presence is necessary—the elusive communal magic that is theatre will come through even if you are facing a screen, on the phone, or in your room. These are unique productions, some of them made just for the festival. Immediate, international, and vibrant, the 2021 Under the Radar artists point to a future theater that embraces innovation and transformation.”

This year also marks the return of the Under the Radar Symposium: A Creative Summit, a half-day of conversations and panels on the field taking place on Jan. 7, 2021 at 10 a.m. The summit will feature a keynote speech from spoken-word poet, educator, and performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who also serves as the vice president and artistic director of social impact at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Additionally, the Public announced the 2020-22 Devised Theater Working Group (DTWG) cohort: Savon Bartley, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Eric Lockley, Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Mia Rovegno, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, and Mariana Valencia. DTWG is an artist resource group formed as a complementary program to the Under the Radar Festival. Utilizing the dramaturgical, technical, artistic, and administrative resources of the Public Theater, DTWG creates an infrastructure to support collaborative collectives and other untraditional originators. This year’s cohort, the first two-year cohort, will collaborate on a video compilation consisting of their individual artistic expressions, which will premiere during the festival.

Pre-festival programming will begin on Dec. 21. The full festival lineup can be found below and on the Public Theater website.

A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call (Dec. 21-Jan. 17, 2021), by 600 Highwaymen and written and created by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, which invites audiences to pick up the phone and listen, following a series of automated prompts, as a portrait of the unnamed person on the other end of the line emerges.

Capsule (Jan. 6-17, 2021), by Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall, grapples with race, film as a medium, and being caught up in the maelstrom of 2020 as part of a reflection on isolation and longing. Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky will direct.

Espíritu (Jan. 6-17, 2021), by Teatro Anónimo from Chile and written and directed by Trinidad González, follows anonymous individuals marked by a spiritual crisis as they attempt to find the hidden devil that inhabits their city and catch it in a bottle. The production will be performed in Spanish with English subtitles.

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (Jan. 7-10 and Jan. 14-17, 2021), written by Javaad Alipoor and co-created by Alipoor and Kristy Housley, is the second part of a trilogy from Alipoor about how digital technology, resentment, and fracturing identities are changing the world.

Borders & Crossings (Jan. 7-10, 2021), by Inua Ellams, follows Ellams as he explores the theme of migration and its wider global and political questions by looking back at his own life experiences moving from Nigeria to England to Ireland and back to London.

Disclaimer (Jan. 7-11 and Jan. 14-17, 2021), by Tara Ahmadinejad, invites audiences into a virtual cooking class with Chef Nargis for the chance at an aromatic dinner and the change to prevent a perpetually impending war.

The motown project (Jan. 8-17, 2021), by Alicia Hall Moran, is a meditation on the Motown songbook through a cinematic, movement-based aria that brings together Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, Mozart, Marvin Gaye, and Purcell. The production is presented by Joe’s Pub as part of the Joe’s Pub New York Voices Commission.

Devised Theatre Working Group’s INCOMING! (Jan. 6-17, 2021) will feature all eight cohort members in a 30-minute video.

More information on the festival’s productions is available online.

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