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Andrew Schneider and his team follow up their revolutionary, OBIE award-winning tech-theater masterpiece YOUARENOWHERE with a mind-bending examination of what constitutes a single life and the endless possible outcomes at the precise moment of death.
Collaborators Alicia ayo-Ohs, Alessandra Calabi, and Bobby McElver join Schneider to continue their exploration of hyper-precise trademark design. They command thrilling light and sound effects with deft physical performance alongside a rapid-fire flow of text that blends pathos and humor with intelligence and vulnerability. From the spellbinding chaos of digital machinations and pulsating sensory extremes emerges a poignant, shared consciousness perceiving where we are, how we got here, and what comes AFTER.
In 2008, Janek Turkowski discovered a cardboard box containing 64 reels of 8mm film in a North German market close to the Polish border. Each reel consisted of images of the same woman, Margarete Ruhbe. Captivated by the celluloid subject, Turkowski embarked on an artistic reconstruction of the life of a woman he didn’t and possibly couldn't know.
Set against powerful images of the Communist Bloc, the story of Margarete unfolds from Turkowski's curiosity-driven purchase to his private investigation into the identity of a woman who left only a brief but indelible mark through home movies. Using digital and 8mm projections that he edited from the found footage, this intimate solo performance is a reflection on memory, how it can be recorded and how it can be perceived.
When award-winning lip sync maestro and intrepid drag fabulist Dickie Beau realized that he might never play Shakespeare’s tragic prince, he decided to turn himself into a human Hamlet mix-tape. He would channel audio recordings of great historical performances of theater's most famous role to “re-member” the ghosts of Hamlet from the past.
Humorous and haunting, Re-Member Me is part documentary theatre, part 21st-century séance adventure through cultural landscapes and a contemporary ghost story. In an ode to the impermanence of personhood and posterity, Beau chronicles the remarkable story behind the greatest Hamlet almost never seen.
Gonzo journalist, America’s greatest rock critic and inventor of the word “punk,” legendary music writer Lester Bangs was an American icon. Outsized, manic chaotic, and impossibly creative, Bangs traveled with some of the most mythologized musical figures of the 20th century: The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed—peeling away the veneer between star and audience and exposing the greats as flawed human beings. As the ragged, rebel ethos of the 70s gave way to the corporate pop of the 80s, Bangs lost the myth he’d built a life around and died of a drug overdose in 1982.
This solo play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (award-winning writers of The Exonerated and Aftermath) adapts Bangs' writing to chart the life, work and death of one of the 20th century’s most ground-breaking, risk-taking, pioneering voices.
Italy’s Motus Theatre returns to direct and devise Panorama, a new work in collaboration with La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company. Contemporary philosopher and feminist, Rosi Braidotti wrote about a “belonging open to Multiplicities” proposing a post-nationalistic identity for all the populations of the world, focusing on the concept of fluid identity and nomad identity. Motus and Great Jones Repertory Company delve into the heart of this issue, interweaving their personal histories of identity, departure, and remembrance to create new existential panoramas in which migration is actually an intrinsic existential condition.
Following a sold-out run of Medea in 2011, Satoshi Miyagi and his company SPAC return to New York with another literary masterpiece, Othello. Miyagi re-tells Shakespeare’s famed tragedy through noh theater’s most distinct storytelling structure, mugen noh, or a play that features a spirit. Told from the perspective of Othello’s wife Desdemona, who returns as a ghost after her death, Miyagi’s production is replete with stunning masks and costumes as well as powerful live music and chanting.
Unexploded Ordnances by Split Britches is a new exploration of ageing, anxiety and ‘doomsday’ created through conversation and collaboration with an array of elders and artists. Developed between the UK and US, Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw have created a unique production, combining darkly playful Dr Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring new protocol for public discussion–the Situation Room.
With his signature wit and keen observational eye for the manners of everyday domesticity, bestselling author and beloved New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik chronicles his early days in the tumultuous decade of the 1980s–where a life begun in the smallest apartment in Manhattan opened the gate to professional misadventures in the worlds of high fashion, art and public speaking.
Jumping forward twenty years, Gopnik also tells the story of raising two children in the utterly different New York of the aughts and builds a moving portrait where imaginary friends, misunderstood texts and even steam bath sexuality all manage to confound and shape his understanding.
Havana’s leading provocateur in the underground counterculture of fashion, spectacle, cabaret, theater and drag confronts the tyrannical themes of Antigone with sharp humor and robust essentiality in this internationally acclaimed production direct from Teatro El Público.
Two myths collide in one epic explosion of poetry and heroics crafted by audacious director Carlos Díaz and inventive young playwright Rogelio Orizondo. Old and new figures from Cuba’s tumultuous history populate this brave work in which icons are reborn and others are abandoned — in particular, the myth of renowned poet José Martí, considered the founder of Cuban revolutionary thought.
Five highly physical performers join the echo of the Greek tragedy, embroidered with exotically absurd costumes which move poetically through a series of flashbacks, all set against a backdrop of archival news footage that connects the past with the present in unnerving and profound ways.
Cao Yu's early 20th-century drama Thunderstorm, regarded as a masterpiece in Chinese theater, is dismantled and reassembled in this new interpretation helmed by internationally acclaimed director Wang Chong. Using real-time video editing and sound mixing from action occurring on stage, a hypnotic, near-silent movie unfolds to tell the explicit story of two female characters discovering that they have been cheated on by the same womanizing playboy.
Updating the story to a Beijing official's home in the 1990s, Wang and his company of Beijing performers reinvent the classic play to reflect the complexities of contemporary capitalist-communist society, the ubiquity of technology and the sex-obsessed global landscape. Chong incorporates live pingtan players, a centuries-old form of traditional Chinese musical storytelling, to create the dialogue and soundtrack onstage.
OBIE-Award winning, New York-based performance group Nature Theater of Oklahoma takes on the American Dream and the bleak desert of its aspirational aftermath. Created in collaboration with six dancers of the highly acclaimed Slovenian dance company EnKnapGroup, the piece charges through a rough-and-tumble, endlessly morphing myth of the Wild West, where whiskey pours, fists fly, and bullets ultimately settle the score.
Through hyper-masculine high jinks and disruptions of submissive stereotypes this fast-paced, entertaining and affecting piece careens towards a shocking and unseemly Hollywood end. With a brief detour to Baghdad, this raucous dance-theater performance hybrid travels from the dark corners into which we collectively chase our wildest dreams to the anarchic frontiers of lust, greed and violent means to examine the “unalienable right” to happiness.
FREE! Performance in The Public Theater lobby
Shasta is celebrity. Shasta is the future. Completely uncensored and outrageously fabulous, this renowned icon brings you her signature brand of basement get-down party.
Opposites collide for an irreverent and uplifting gospel of laughter in a night of Shasta’s free-flowing emcee-style performance. With contagious energy and sexy southern charms, Shasta tackles naughty topics and pays sonic homage to the classic era of Hip-Hop, elevating the listener to new highs.
Work in Progress
David Cale gives words to escaping the volatility of his parents’ marriage by singing Petula Clark songs, by tending to the tropical birds in the Bird and Animal Hospital he built in a garden shed, by embodying vivid memories and by learning to live when death is suddenly everywhere.
Weaving together family portraits, narrative storytelling and original songs lushly arranged by Matthew Dean Marsh, Cale tells his harrowing autobiographical story of growing up in an industrial English town with an intimate authenticity and lays bare the violent act which changed everything and the surreality of being propelled out.
On New Year’s Eve 1969, Jimi Hendrix’s electronic blues trio, Band of Gypsys, played a legendarily funky concert at New York City’s Fillmore East. Twelve disciples have gathered in the upper balcony to bear witness, as heat is brought to a nation caught in mid-winter chill. As “bullets fly like rain,” at home and abroad, the ensemble movingly reimagines an iconic moment in rock and roll history through the timeless power of Hendrix’s music. It’s the end of the Sixties. And Jimi Hendrix’s final New Year’s Eve.
“All that you touch You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The Only Lasting Truth is Change”– Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower
Based on the post-apocalyptic novel by the late Afro-futurist and science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower is a genre-defying opera that harnesses two centuries of Black music.
Conceived by Toshi Reagon, whom Vibe Magazine called “one helluva rock’n’roller-coaster ride,” in collaboration with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, the iconic singer, scholar and activist, Parable chronicles the spiritual awakening of young Lauren Olamina amidst a dystopian America wracked by the violence brought on by unrelenting greed and systemic injustice.
Parable fuses science fiction, African-American spiritualism, a deep examination of gender, race and environmental activism to construct a mesmerizing work of rare power and beauty that reveals deep insights on the future of human civilization.
Based on the novels Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler.
From the frenzied mind, body and spirit of Pig Iron Theatre Company cofounder Dito van Reigersberg comes Martha Graham Cracker. Backed by a live band, Martha croons this music-driven fever-dream of a performance about a life of hard living and even harder loving.
The dazzling drag-cabaret darling excavates her distorted past, belting out original tunes and dishing ridiculous stories and side-splitting asides. Roughed up and worked over, Martha comes up with an unusual plan to barricade herself from loves lost, but not forgotten: tonight is the night she will bury her heart.
Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes's The Transformations Suite combines music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within the communities of the African Diaspora.
Continuing the tradition of artists such as Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, and Tupac Shakur, the Suitepaints a musical picture of the current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States and beyond. The Transformations Suite connects contemporary issues, such as the prison industrial complex and the Black Lives Matter movement, with the history of revolutionary movements of color. It asks probing questions and builds an urgent case for rebellion in the present moment.
In many ways, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf lived parallel lives: the two women, whose heartrending loves and lives fed the soulful, singularity of their voices, were born during the same year on opposite shores and became two of the signature voices of their generation.
Curated by revolutionary art-rock, new-wave goddess Nona Hendryx, and an international roster of contemporary vocalists, Parallel Lives: Billie Holiday & Edith Piaf is an exploration of the lives and music of these two legends— and a global celebration of ‘Lady Day’ and the ‘Little Sparrow.’ The show will feature contemporary vocalists like Tamar Kali, Kiki Hawkins, Keith Fluitt, Asa Arnold, Etienne Stadwjck and more.
Judge Judy once said: Don’t Pee On My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. But Erin Markey is not sure that that isn’t rain. Because in her world, her flower laden open casket service is a theme park, and all the rides are about how confusing sexuality, desire and identity are.
What we’re trying to say is that Erin Markey and co-composer Emily Bate will present musical excerpts from their critically acclaimed musical A Ride On The Irish Cream (2016)*, slow-jam cabaret funeral Boner Killer (2017), and in-development Beach Boys/Spice Girls inspired energy concert Little Surfer (2019). They wouldn’t dare do it by themselves, though. With them is a rock band, a girl group, infamous schmerm/lover Becca Blackwell and many disgusting exceptions to Markey's no-sequins rule in the costume department. The audience is invited to watch as Erin's comedic storytelling melts into gorgeous harmony driven music, but guaranteed: Erin will turn her wild eye on you and give you a slumber party command you don’t dare disobey.
Audience becomes choir in this live, powerful pop music mass sing-along!
Singers and non-singers alike are invited to the Public Theater's historic lobby to take part in an interactive musical collaboration at this year's Under the Radar Festival.
Pushing the boundaries between practice and performance, artist and audience, Choir! Choir! Choir! brings spirit-lifting atonement to the plague of contemporary disconnection: a community brought together through the common language of music. You don't need to know how to read music. Just show up, you'll get lyrics, and they'll teach you everything you need to sound great.
INCOMING! is 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.
“Listen to the beats / The rhythm of my Bushwick streets.”
Brooklyn impresario Modesto Flako Jimenez conjures his beloved borough in this bilingual elegy, told through poems, projections, and music. With lyrical brilliance and irreverent play, ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn complicates our perceptions of race, language, and gentrification and calls us to be truly present.
With savage lyricism, Flako populates the stage with immigrants, drug dealers, condoritos, tiguerasos, mothers and sons, all asking the same question: “What is my moral worth?”
"Who do you think decides what is a big deal and what isn't?"
Sophocles’ Antigone acts as a provocation for this autobiographical unearthing, based on recorded conversations between the artist and her younger brother—a citizen of the still-Wild West, California’s marijuana country. Recalling a time when we were little—as siblings, as a nation, as a democratic system—Our Country interlaces origin mythologies from the Wild West and Ancient Greece with psychoanalytic theory and childhood memories.
Sometimes the best way to deal with your biggest problem is to avoid it. Kareem M. Lucas reanimates the memory of a never-ending night—a wild rollercoaster ride through alcohol, drugs, sex, joy, loss, and self-discovery. He weaves together his past and present to interrogate our desperate need for significance, in life and after death, and mythologizes the everyday experience of a common Black man in America. Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty is an epic poem about fulfilling one's purpose—if there is any—before time runs out. The clock is ticking.
In under an hour, what seems utterly innocuous becomes outrageously ultra-violent. A classical ghost story for our contemporary moment, this deceptively simple examination of misogyny, cruelty, and memes is equal parts long-form confessional monologue and serial teen drama. Exploring female friendship, the restlessness of youth, and the romanticization of the brutalized female body, [50/50] old school animation flirts with the horrific and dips into the surreal.
Do the clouds sit heavy upon you? Do you harbor violent thoughts? Is that a skull you’re talking to? Mission Hamlet is no faithful recreation, but a live and unruly reconstruction of Shakespeare's work. Armed with only an inky cloak and an iPhone, this Hamlet catapults into New York City and uses live feed between the streets and the theater, to battle existential melancholy and political woe, while creating radical opportunities for civic participation.
The discovery of a pocket watch in a timeworn attic catapults a pair of old lovers through an epic expanse of generations and landscapes—the Venetian Renaissance, an Egyptian burial, a 1970s doctor’s office, and a virtual reality forest in the near future. In this dioramic triptych of realism, post-modern historic farce, and media performance, harunalee confronts the ways memory and trauma are racialized and gendered across time. Memory Retrograde negotiates the inextricable relationship between personal and cultural memory, and transforms the English language into an emotional territory, where heightened experience is synonymous with the irrationality of words and language.
Work-in-process presentations from members of the Devised Theater Working Group, a program of the Devised Theater Initiative.
A lively post-show discussion with the artists, moderated by UTR staff, in the theater immediately following these performances:
How To Be A Rock Critic – Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen Saturday, January 6, 2:00PM
Margarete – Janek Turkowski Saturday, January 6, 6:30PM
Re-Member Me – Dickie Beau Saturday, January 6, 9:00PM
After – Andrew Schneider Sunday, January 7, 2:00PM
Thunderstorm 2.0 – Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental and Wang Chong Sunday, January 7, 4:00PM
A free and open to the public discussion moderated by Andrew Kircher, Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Associate Dramaturg, Devised Theater, featuring artists from the festival. Audience members are encouraged to come with questions—the more practical the better.
Panel 1: How Did You Make That?Saturday, January 13, 11:00amNewman Theater at The PublicDetails to be announced at a later date
Panel 2: How Did You Make That?Sunday, January 14, 11:00amMartinson Hall at The PublicDetails to be announced at a later date
The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.