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3rd Annual undergroundzero festival Runs 7/7-26 At PS 122

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The undergroundzero festival is an experimental theater festival curated by Paul Bargetto and produced by East River Commedia in association with Collective:Unconscious.. Now in its third year, the undergroundzero festival has given producing artists a laboratory outside the usual curatorial system where risk is encouraged and innovation can flourish. This year the undergroundzero festival will present a fascinating collection of over twenty experimental theatre companies and artists at the legendary downtown performance venue Performance Space 122, July 7-26.

The undergroundzero festival was founded to create a flying repertory dedicated to radical play and brave experimentation. At the heart of the festival is a question that is asked of every participating artist: What dream would you bring to the stage if you could make anything you desired? Every year we have presented plays that have gone on to have successful lives including The Flying Machine's Journey to the End of the Night, Michael Yates Crowley's Ted Haggard Monologues, East River Commedia's Jamal Lullabies, and many more. In addition, the festival itself has gone international with a presentation of new plays in Bielefeld, Germany entitled Voices from undergroundzero that presented the work of Sheila Callaghan, Anne Washburn, Saviana Stanescu and Thomas Bradshaw among others.

Artists featured in this year's undergroundzero festival will showcase 15 mainstage productions and 5 readings of new plays. Companies & performers include East River Commedia, terraNOVA Collective, The South Wing, Dangerous Ground, Collective: Unconscious, Pinchbottom Burlesque, Blessed Unrest, Wax Factory & Eric Dean Scott, Coffee Cup (a theatre co.), NU Classic Theater, Pace University's Musical Theater Program, Columbia University School of the Arts, Nora Woolley & Christine Witmer, Thinking Persons Theatre, Saviana Stanescu & playgroundzero, Hoi Polloi, and Wolf 359.

East River Commedia is a group of International Artists who collaborate on the production and development of ensemble-based performance works in New York City and abroad. Recognizing the need for greater international representation in theatre and performing arts in New York, the company works closely with International Artists, consulates and cultural organizations to reach out to the city's many communities. In addition, the members of ERC believe in the importance of a wide scope of influence and audience, and are committed to productions, tours, and residencies in foreign countries as an integral part of the group's ongoing development. The company is interested in theatre that emerges at the crossroads of poetry, music and gesture. In these forms, we seek to explore human desires-for power, love, belonging and possession-and to uncover the contradictory and mysterious drives that bind audience and performer, parent and child, individual and society.

Collective:Unconscious The Mission of Collective:Unconscious is to foster an inclusive, creative community in Lower Manhattan that serves as an incubator and launching pad for emerging artists in New York City. Founded in 1995 by a group of multi-disciplined artists, Collective: Unconscious was conceived both to perform unique experimental theatre and to administer a space that would serve as a community resource and laboratory for the performing arts.

Paul Bargetto is a theatre director and the Founder and Artistic Director of East River Commedia, an international theater company headquartered in New York City. He is also the founder and curator of the undergroundzero festival at Collective:Unconscious and the international Voices from undergroundzero Festival. He holds an MFA from Columbia University in Directing and a BA in Drama from San Francisco State University. Recent directing credits include Crumble, Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake at the Theater Bielefeld in Germany, Necessary Monsters with Carla Kihlstedt at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, The Magnificent Cuckold at the Connelly Theater in New York, The Jamal Lullabies at Collective Unconscious, The Taming of the Shrew and Serenada si Vulpe Filosof at the National Theater of Constanta in Romania, Serenade & Philosopher Fox at Collective: Unconscious, Philosopher Fox at the Malta International Festival in Poznan, Striptease & Out at Sea at La MaMa ETC, A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Riverside Church, and Hecuba in Assos, Turkey. He was the winner of the Best Director and Best Production of a Play awards at the 2005 New York Innovative Theater Awards and a semi-finalist in the Wagner Forum, Ring Award competition, Graz, Austria. He is also a founding member of the League of Independent Theater (LITNY), a group of activist theater makers in New York City dedicated to improving and promoting off-off Broadway.

Performance Space 122 is New York's ultimate destination for cutting-edge theatre, dance, music, live art and cross-media. Founded in 1979, Performance Space 122 is dedicated to supporting and presenting artists whose work challenges the traditional boundaries of dance, theatre, music, and performance. Committed to exploring innovative form as well as material, P.S. 122 is steadfast in its search for pioneering artists from a diversity of cultures and points of view.

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