Under The Radar Festival 2012 Decoded By Artistic Director Mark Russell

<em>Alexis, A Greek Tragedy</em> <br/>From the show description: "In 2008, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos became an icon of youthful rebellion after he was shot by a policeman, triggering an unprecedented storm of protests against the corrupted political system in Greece. In their continued search for a modern Antigone in present-day resistance, Motus emerges with this documentary theatre piece of uncompromising theatricality. Alexis is their poetic call to action." <br/>Russell says, "This show has some awesome images in it, it is literally a hot show—that is all I am saying. This is also the show closest to the themes of resistance and revolution that seem to be threaded through this year’s festival. If I could invite all of Occupy Wall Street over to see something, this would be the show."<br/>

<em>Chimera</em><br/> From the show description: "Welcome to the world of Jennifer Samuels, who has just discovered that she is her own twin. Inspired by a real-life horror story, Chimera takes you on a journey from the frontiers of modern science to the seeds of ancient mythology. Co-creators Deborah Stein and Suli Holum have launched a highly theatrical exploration of medical chimerism – the phenomenon of containing two different sets of DNA within one body – in order to explore what happens when technology shatters our ideas of who we think we are." <br/>Russell says, "Deb Stein and Suli Holum have created a unique piece of theater with really innovative use of video and and ingenious set. Pretty damn beautiful."

<em>El pasado es un animal grotesco</em> (<em>The Past is a Grotesque Animal</em>) <br/>From the show description: "Epic and cinematic in scope, with a slowly revolving stage, El pasado… tracks the lives of four young Argentinians in a bittersweet fragmentary chronicle of a decade (1999-2009). What began as a story pieced together from damaged photographs left behind in a photolab evolves into a fast-paced record of the past, both true and imaginary." <br/> Russell says, "Mariano Pensotti is a young master theater maker from Argentina. This piece has a large wooden turntable that continues to slowly revolve throughout the show, as the lives of four young Argentinians evolve over a ten year span from 1999 to 2009. Argentina went through a complete financial meltdown during that time, people left and came back, grew up, met and broke up. This is a wide canvas of a piece, cinematic, poignant and very moving. In Spanish but with super titles so you can read along."<br/>

<em>Camille O’Sullivan: Feel</em> <br/>From the show description: "An award-winning actress, architect and painter, Irish/French chanteuse Camille O’Sullivan is one of Ireland’s most unique artists. With five-star sell-out seasons in London, New York, Sydney Opera House, and Edinburgh, this charismatic performer presents the work of Nick Cave, Jacques Brel, David Bowie, Tom Waits, and many others in her very own distinctively theatrical style." <br/>Russell says: "This is a very special event for a very special performer. This will be her New York premiere of a full theater concert. You won’t hear Nick Cave the same way, once you’ve heard Camille’s version of the Ship Song. Camille will come back to another theater later next year to do a longer engagement of her work. When I was in Dublin and met Camille she walked me all the way across town to my next meeting with her bike and her red beret, just to make sure I got there."<br/>

<em>GOODBAR</em><br/> From the show description: "Created in collaboration with NYC glam-punk band, Bambï, GOODBAR blurs the boundaries between music and theatre while tackling one of the most controversial cult artifacts of the '70s: Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Riffing wildly on the novel by Judith Rossner, Bambï &amp; Waterwell crank the amps up to 10 and launch a full frontal assault on modern myths of sex, independence, and persona." <br/> Russell says: "The young company Waterwell has put this together with the glam punk band Bambi. It takes place in our LuEsther Lounge, drinks available. This is real rock ‘n’ roll theater. The whole back of the stage is taken up with a huge screen and a lot of the story of Looking for Mr. Goodbar is told through the video segments, which feature folks like Ira Glass, Moby, Bobby Cannavale and others. After the show you can stay and talk to the cast as we turn the Lounge into our late night hang for the festival." <br/>

<em>Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech</em><br/> From the show description: "chelfitsch Theater Company returns to New York to perform Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech, the quirky triptych created by the internationally acclaimed playwright/director Toshiki Okada. Hot Pepper… captures the empty and ungrounded nature of Generation Y in Japan today through three humorously absurd scenes set in a corporate break room. Characterized by a seemingly insubstantial narrative accompanied by exaggerated gestures-turned-choreography, the groundbreaking works of chelfitsch (Five Days in March and Enjoy) have drawn global recognition, making them a leading theater company in Japan and abroad. <br/>Russell says: "Toshiki Okada, the director and writer of this piece, is a true theater visionary. I am really excited to bring his work back to New York. He often works in two tracks, one the language of the show which is seemly banal office chatter, and then a movement track that is entirely separate, but they both combine into an amazing theatrical event."<br/>

<em>Lick But Don’t Swallow</em> <br/>From the show description: "An angel comes down from heaven but finds herself in the body of a porn star. The clock is ticking – who can she save? Or is it just a dream of a porn star to save herself and the world? A hybrid of comedy, video, and existential inquiry, LICK BUT DON’T SWALLOW! was only performed once in Istanbul, due to protests by a fundamentalist newspaper."<br/>Russell says: "We get visits at UTR all the time from artists from around the world, we are sort of the international receiving office of The Public Theater. Ayca Damgaci was one of those visitors, she told us about her show which was basically banned in her home country because Islamist Fundamentalists thought the show might be blasphemous. <br/>It isn’t, but she can’t perform it except for underground in her home town of Istanbul for fear of getting beat up. She gave us a DVD and left, we came back to our office to and casually stuck it in our player, before she could get down the street I called her. Before she went back home to Turkey we had agreed to bring the show to UTR this year. She is an amazing performer, it’s bawdy, and political and very funny. UTR is always trying to be the place where over looked voices can find a platform."<br/>

<p>From the show description: "SONTAG: REBORN draws from cultural critic Susan Sontag’s journals, tracing her academic and personal journey from the age of 14 to her emergence as a singular public intellectual. In SONTAG: REBORN, performer Moe Angelos’ actions and words are magnified and transformed using a richly visual media environment to depict the workings of Sontag’s prismatic mind."<br/>Russell says: "Mo Angelos looks exactly like Susan Sontag when she puts a streak of gray in her hair. Sontag was a friend of Marianne Weems and the Builders Association; she was always at their pieces when I went to see them. The Builders are known for doing elaborate high tech shows for big theaters like BAM. This is a smaller scale, more intimate event but still featuring their trademark use of technology."<br/></p>

<em>Super Night Shot</em> <br/>From the show description: "Precisely one hour before you arrive, Super Night Shot begins. In a military-style brief, Gob Squad declares a “War on Anonymity” and takes to New York City streets armed with video cameras, embarking on a set of comic and surreal adventures that celebrate unexpected encounters with strangers. You give them a rousing hero’s welcome as they return to the theater, and the footage of the fantastical mission is mixed live into a four-channel widescreen film."<br/>Russell says: "Gob Squad is our theater company in residence this month at The Public. We are only showing this piece for three shows our first weekend. In Super Night Shot the Gob Squad synch up four cameras an hour before the audience comes and they run into the streets to shoot a movie, they come back once the audience has arrived, shoot the last scene and show the movie. Only the charming Gob Squad gang could get away with this. Later this month they return to bring “Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good) to The Public’s main stage. You can also go over to the Goethe Institute’s Wyoming Building on 3rd Street to the Gob Squad resource room to find out about their process and see some of their installation work."<br/>

<em>In the Solitude of Cotton Fields</em> <br/>From the show description: "All songs are about love, and they're all like wolves. Backed by live music from the Polish cult band Natural Born Chillers, this interpretation of late French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès’s In the Solitude of Cotton Fields imagines a raw encounter between a Dealer and a Client with the swagger of an Eastern European punk-rock concert."<br/> Russell says: "This show really distills rock n roll theater down to its essence. The theater is jealous of rock n roll, the spectacle, the audience interaction, the drive to ecstatic moments. This show goes there. it might be one of the sexiest shows in the mix, especially if you like skinny boys. Bernard-Marie Koltes is an amazing French poet/playwright, this director is a young visionary from Poland, the Natural Born Chillers are a hell of a band. The combination is electric."<br/>

<em>Word Becomes Flesh</em><br/> From the show description: "Presented as a series of letters to an unborn son, Word Becomes Flesh confronts fatherhood in urban communities and the mythology of the black male body – from cotton field to athletic field and all the spaces in between. Marc Bamuthi Joseph reinvents his 2003 solo performance for a new generation with an ensemble cast, using spoken word, music, and contemporary and hip-hop dance."<br/>Russell says: "Marc Bamuthi Joseph did a solo version of this piece in the first Under the Radar in 2005. He has now re-imagined it as a group piece with five young poets from the bay area. I think the piece is even stronger. Marc is one of the artists bringing the spoken word movement to a wider audience; he is an amazing spokesperson for his generation. It is such a pleasure to have him back at UTR."<br/>

<em>The Bee</em><br/>From the show description: "Manga comic strip-like frenzy turns into a thought-provoking nightmare in Hideki Noda's THE BEE, co-written by Hideki Noda and Colin Teevan and inspired by a story by Yasutaka Tsutsui. This gripping production tells the tale of an ordinary Japanese businessman who turns savage after returning home to discover that his wife and son have been taken hostage. Within a minimalist set and an eerily beautiful soundtrack, the cast, composed of four members, including the director himself and Olivier Award winner Kathryn Hunter, seamlessly shifts between characters."<br/>Russell says: "I first saw Hideki Noda’s work in 1988 as part of the New York International Festival. It was outrageous physical comedy, like a manga comic book on stage. He is a super star in Japan. The Bee is a dark comedy he made in the UK and it’s in English."<br/>

<em>The Plot Is the Revolution</em><br/> From the show description: "The Living Theatre’s Judith Malina and Motus’ Silvia Calderoni create an encounter between two Antigones – spanning generations and experiences – united in the belief that theater can incite political transformation." <br/>Russell says: "I have long admired Judith Malina, she is the godmother of political theater; she is a living legend. She is still as sharp as a tack and still influencing and teaching young performance makers. One of her most important roles was “Antigone” which the Living Theater did when they were in exile in the 60s. In this show she compares her Antigone from 1969 in conversation with Silvia Calderoni the young and very dangerous actress from Motus, who is playing Antigone in their work. Though, as with all Motus shows, it is so much more than a conversation."<br/>

<em>The Table</em> <br/>From the show description: "A cantankerous puppet is having an existential crisis ... on a table. Blind Summit shook up the opera world with their puppetry in Anthony Minghella’s Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera. Now they bring their version of extreme puppetry to UTR. Inspired by Beckett, the Bible and Ikea, The Table was the award-winning, sold-out sensation of the 2011 Edinburgh Festival." <br/>Russell says: "I saw this show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. A character made of cardboard, manipulated by four puppeteers, on a simple table, total magic. Most of what they do is improvisational, like a stand-up comedian, but with four guys manipulating and voicing a puppet. Kind of amazing."<br/>