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The Public Theater's 16th Under the Radar Festival Kicks Off Wednesday

The Public Theater's 16th Under the Radar Festival Kicks Off Wednesday

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) begins performances for the 16th annual UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL on Wednesday, January 8. 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 Australia, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, Palestine, Taiwan, and the U.K. Curated by UTR Festival Director Mark Russell, this year's UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL continues to expand to venues throughout New York City, in addition to The Public Theater's home at Astor Place.

UTR 2020 will feature exciting new work at The Public by innovative artists Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang; Back to Back Theatre; Josh Fox; Aleshea Harris and The Movement Theatre Company; Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral and Héctor Flores Komatsu; Ahamefule J. Oluo; Teatro y Su Doble, Aline Kuppenheim, and Guillermo Calderón; Selina Thompson; and Amir Nizar Zuabi. The festival will also include works by Nick Payne, Wang Chong, and Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental; Touretteshero and Battersea Arts Centre; and Suguru Yamamoto at partner venues throughout New York City.

The 12-day festival will also include the return of Under the Radar + Joe's Pub: In Concert performances; the INCOMING! works-in-process series; and the Under the Radar Professional Symposium. The Library and the mezzanine will also be open for Under the Radar: Late Night.

Under the Radar + Joe's Pub: In Concert returns this year with performances by Ryan J. Haddad, Lucy McCormick, Rizo, and Daniel J. Watts.

The line-up for the Devised Theater Working Group's INCOMING! Series includes All My Relations Collective; Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Kameron Neal; nicHi douglas; The HawtPlates; Maiko Kikuchi; and Piehole.

Under the Radar: Late Night is a free social gathering taking place in The Library, spilling out into the mezzanine almost every night during the festival from 9:45 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Late Night will feature delicious drinks, light food, dancing, and various performances from local artists and DJs. It is a place for UTR artists and audiences alike to continue their post-show discussions or strike up a new one. Performers include Liberated Art Collective, J Hoard, Larry Owens, The Chekhov Project, Zhe Zhe, Catherine Cohen, Your New Stepmom, and DJ David Serrano.

Additional free programming includes the Audience Accessibility Panel at BRIC on Sunday, January 12 at 3:00 p.m., featuring conversation around current inclusive practices in the performing arts with Christine Bruno, Sofia Cheyenne, Matthew Pountney, and Alexandria Wailes.

Public Forum teams up with Under the Radar for Open Circle: Black Art, Black Liberation on Sunday, January 19 at 12:00 p.m. Part roundtable, part community conversation, the discussion focuses on the UTR artists exploring the theme of liberation throughout the African Diaspora, including panelists nicHi douglas, Eric Lockley, Kameron Neal, and more.

Over the last 16 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, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, 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.



January 8-9, 11-13 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

By Ahamefule J. Oluo (U.S.)

Performed in English

Ahamefule J. Oluo's darkly comic musical portrait of his mother builds one story out of many, a journey from Section 8 housing in 1980s Seattle, to the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta, to the Clallam Bay Correctional Facility. With stunning new compositions, combined with soul-baring stand-up interludes, Oluo explores two intertwining narratives: his mother's life as the white, Midwestern wife of a Nigerian chief, and later a destitute single mother; and his own journey to Nigeria as an adult, to visit his late father's village and discover a family on the other side of the world.

Grey Rock

January 8-9, 11-13, 17-19 (Running Time: 95 Minutes)

Written and Directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi (Palestine)

Produced by Remote Theater Project

In association with GOH Productions

Performed in English

A Palestinian man dreams of reaching the moon. He builds a rocket inside his shed in the West Bank. When his family discovers his plan, chaos ensues. This humorous, poetic work features a five-member cast (from the West Bank and inside Israel) and renowned theater/screen actor, Khalifa Natour. Commissioned by U.S.-based Remote Theater Project to address English speaking communities, GREY ROCK is about the inalienable right to dream.

The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes

January 8-13, 16-19 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)

Back to Back Theatre (Australia)

Created by Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, and Sonia Teuben

Performed in English with English supertitles

Five activists with intellectual disabilities hold a public meeting to start a frank and open conversation about a history we would prefer not to know and a future that is ambivalent. Weaving a narrative through the ethics of mass food production, human rights, the social impact of automation, and the projected dominance of Artificial Intelligence in the world, THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES is about the changing nature of intelligence in contemporary society. A theatrical revelation inspired by mistakes, misreadings, misleadings, and misunderstanding, THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES reminds us that none of us are self-sufficient and all of us are responsible.

To the Moon

January 8-13, 15-19 (Running Time: 15 Minutes)

By Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang (U.S. and Taiwan)

TO THE MOON, a virtual reality experience, uses images and tropes from literature, science, science-fiction space movies, and politics to create an imaginary and dark new version of the Moon. During the 15-minute experience, the viewer is shot out from Earth, walks on the surface of the Moon, glides through space debris, flies through DNA skeletons, and is lifted up a lunar mountain. Laurie Anderson is the 2020 recipient of Joe's Pub's Vanguard Award & Residency, which celebrates the work and influence of an icon of American popular culture. TO THE MOON is part of Anderson's yearlong residency of headlining shows, interspersed with those of mentees, collaborators, and friends.


January 9-13, 15, 17-19 (Running Time: 75 Minutes)

Created by Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral (Mexico)

Directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu

Performed primarily in Spanish with Mayan, Zapotec, Tzotzil, and Wixarika with English supertitles

Woven from ancestral myths, traditional music, and a three-person narrative, ANDARES reveals the extraordinary spirit of Mexico's most remote corners and the astonishing pathways of their humblest of inhabitants. The play shines a light on a range of realities-land usurpation, widespread violence, community resistance-which indigenous people continue to face at the crossroads of old and new ways of life. Created by Héctor Flores Komatsu in a year-long search across the original cultures of his homeland, ANDARES is both a deeply touching and fierce denunciation against a present that seems intent upon destroying what was once held as sacred.

What to Send Up When It Goes Down

January 10, 12, 15, 17-19 (Running Time: 100 Minutes)

Written by Aleshea Harris (U.S.)

Directed by Whitney White

Produced by The Movement Theatre Company

Performed in English

WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN is a play-pageant-ritual-homegoing celebration in response to the physical and spiritual deaths of Black people as a result of racialized violence. Meant to disrupt the pervasiveness of anti-blackness and acknowledge the resilience of Black people throughout history, this theatrical work uses facilitated conversation, parody, song, and movement in a series of vignettes to create a space for catharsis, reflection, cleansing, and healing. Boundaries between performers and audiences blur as the audiences are asked to not only observe the performance, but participate in the ritual as well.


January 10-13, 16-19 (Running Time: 75 Minutes)

Written by Selina Thompson (U.K.)

Directed by Dawn Walton

Performed in English

A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle-from the U.K. to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. Their memories, their questions, and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back.

The Truth Has Changed

January 11-13, 16-19 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

Written and Performed by Josh Fox (U.S.)

Directed by Josh Fox and Ron Russell

Produced by International WOW Company

Performed in English

THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED traces the arc of misinformation and propaganda in America from 9/11 to Trump. As a reporter and eyewitness on the frontlines of so many of the key moments that have changed this country and changed the world, Josh Fox has many stories to tell. From 9/11 and the Iraq war, to the advent of fracking and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to the relentless smear campaigns against climate scientists, to the fight for 100% renewable energy, to the 2016 presidential campaign, to Standing Rock, Fox has had a front row seat to history unfolding.


January 15-19 (Running Time: 50 Minutes)

Produced by Teatro y Su Doble (Chile)

Conceived and Directed by Aline Kuppenheim

Adapted by Guillermo Calderón from Mario Beneditti's short story, "Noche de los Feos" (Night of the Ugly)

Performed in Spanish with English supertitles

Director/puppet artist Aline Kuppenheim's FEOS is her first collaboration with Guillermo Calderón, based on Mario Beneditti's short story, "Noche de los Feos" (Night of the Ugly). It's an adult work about desire and love by two people with physical deformities.


Re-engineering the intersection of music and theater.

This exciting series highlights the multidisciplinary music/theater hybrids emerging from this renowned venue's programming. These artists are exploring the intersection of music and theater to bring their unique stories to the stage.

The Jam: Only Child

January 6, 10, 12, 20 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

By Daniel J. Watts (U.S.)

Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Performed in English

A play-on-words, THE JAM: ONLY CHILD pays homage to Daniel J. Watts' great-grandmother who, after making jam from scratch, would share with others what she was unable to consume herself. THE JAM: ONLY CHILD is Watts' continuation of that legacy, blending elements of stand-up comedy and compelling storytelling with his original spoken word, often set to music and/or dance.

Falling for Make Believe

January 8, 12, 16-17 (Running Time: 80 Minutes)

Written and Performed by Ryan J. Haddad (U.S.)

Directed by Julian Fleisher

Music Direction by Billy Stritch and Henry Koperski

Performed in English with open captions

When Ryan J. Haddad was five, he founded an acting troupe called The Haddad Theater and forced his family to put on plays. Their living room antics drew such an audience that they eventually moved to the stage of the local community center, where hundreds of people paid a dollar to watch them read from notecards, sing to karaoke tracks, and execute excruciatingly long scene changes. Over eight years, Ryan would write (steal), direct (not tell anyone his vision), and star (star) in 10 "productions" alongside his relatives. Now he's coming to Joe's Pub, telling tales of The Haddad Theater in a witty, whimsical memoir full of showtunes. Exclusively showtunes. Directed by Julian Fleisher, with music direction by Billy Stritch and Henry Koperski, FALLING FOR MAKE BELIEVE is a celebration of childhood dreams and a family learning to love the spotlight. Ryan will probably cry during this performance.

Triple Threat

January 8-10 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)

Created by Lucy McCormick (U.K.)

Directed by Ursula Martinez

Performed in English

Post-popular prodigy Lucy McCormick and her Girl Squad present her U.K. smash-hit TRIPLE THREAT, a trash-step/dub-punk morality play for the modern world. Casting herself in all the main roles, McCormick will attempt to re-connect to her own moral conscience by re-enacting the New Testament via a Nu-wave holy trinity of dance, power ballads, and performance art. Directed by cabaret legend Ursula Martinez, McCormick puts her best foot forward in the face of existential deadlock. Having achieved cult status at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, she has toured the show across the U.K., Europe, and Canada, and will now make her U.S. debut with it at Joe's Pub.

Losing the Lady

January 9, 11, 16-17 (Running Time: 80 Minutes)

By Rizo (U.S.)

Performed in English

New York's own downtown diva goddess Rizo (f.k.a Lady Rizo) charges back onto the Joe's Pub stage after a year away, electrifying Spiegeltents around the world. A cult favorite, her stage shows bring her powerhouse vocals together with seductive storytelling and wild hilarious audience experiments. Seductively peeling back layers of alter-ego, Rizo explores the delight and trappings of our shadow selves through her own songs along with the tunes of Sasha Fierce (Beyoncé), the Thin White Duke (David Bowie), and Camille (Prince).


Nick Payne's Constellations

January 9-12 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

Written by Nick Payne

By Wang Chong and Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental (China)

Co-Presented by The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival and La MaMa

La MaMa - 66 E 4th St, New York, NY

Performed in Chinese with English supertitles

Nick Payne's play CONSTELLATIONS has been well-received on Broadway with Jake Gyllenhaal and in the West End with Sally Hawkins, but the award-winning Chinese production has its own special charm. Director Wang Chong adds live video and a live hamster to the work. The result is a unique experience that is contemporary, complex, and intimate. Following the success of their Under the Radar debut Thunderstorm 2.0 in 2018, Wang and his Beijing-based company Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental brings multimedia acting to another level.

Not I by Samuel Beckett

January 10-13, 16-19 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)

A Touretteshero and Battersea Arts Centre Production (U.K.)

In association with the Albany

Directed by Matthew Pountney

Co-Presented by The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival and BRIC

BRIC House - 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY

Performed in English and ASL

Jess Thom has Tourettes, a condition that means she makes movements and noises she can't control, called tics. Following award-winning Backstage in Biscuit Land, she takes on Samuel Beckett's short play in a theatrical experience that explores neurodiversity and asks who is allowed to perform what and who gets the final say. All performances are ASL integrated and are Relaxed. This means that if you tic, shout, or move about, you're more than welcome. And the great thing is: everyone can benefit from a relaxed performance.

The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood

January 10-12, 14 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

Directed and Written by Suguru Yamamoto (Japan)

Presented by Japan Society as part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

Japan Society - 333 E 47th St, New York, NY

Performed in Japanese with English supertitles

Back by popular demand after his North American debut of Girl X in 2017 at Japan Society, Suguru Yamamoto, one of Japan's hottest young playwright-directors and founder of theater company HANCHU-YUEI, returns with his latest one-man dance theater piece. THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD features Yamamoto's signature directing style, in which characters' thoughts are conveyed through projected words, alluding to the millennial generation's preferred mode of communication-texting. Blending movement, photography, and colorful lighting, Yamamoto reveals the indifference and tenderness of a metropolis where the lives of complete strangers continuously interact and coalesce.


A Festival within a Festival. Rapid Response. Controlled Chaos. New Work.

This year, The PubIic Theater's Devised Theater Initiative (DTI) hosts the sixth cohort of the Devised Theater Working Group. These artists will be presented as part of the 2020 Under the Radar Festival's INCOMING! Series, a platform that features in-process works of formal investigation and artistic ambition. Works-in-process are not open for review.


January 11, 13 (Running Time: 80 Minutes)

By The HawtPlates (U.S.)

>Composed and Performed by Jade Hicks, Kenita Miller-Hicks, and Justin Hicks

Performed in English

Imagine up the law who always brought in the wanted, alive rather than dead.

A fabulous law, a fabulous law to the end.

In a series of live recording sessions, The HawtPlates (Justin, Kenita, and Jade Hicks) present a song cycle, a ghost story, a poetic act of protest that asks us to reimagine American heroism. Inspired by Bass Reeves, the first African American U.S. Marshal, and Odetta Holmes, the voice of the civil rights movement, haunting vocals give rise to a musical landscape pulsing with contemporary and ancestral sounds.


January 12, 15 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)

Created and Performed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Kameron Neal (U.S.)

Performed in English

We think we have ideas. We think we can build shit. But we're just meat. We're just so soft.

What happens to our bodies after we die? Ashes pollute rivers. Buried bodies take up real estate. Bringing video and performance into intimate conversation, MUKHAGNI is an automythography about a relationship in process. In a bedroom in Brooklyn, in a Calcutta charnel ground, two queer colored lovers play dead.


January 11, 16 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)

By All My Relations Collective (U.S.)

Written and Performed by Ty Defoe

Performed in English and Anishinaabemowin

Once, I made myself wings to fly

I changed my pattern in the wind

and in the sky

Blasted off into the future...

That's when I started to shapeshift.

Zhooniyas has fallen from their home in the stars onto Earth, shrouded by light pollution. Interdisciplinary artist Ty Defoe and the All My Relations Collective merge immersive performance with interactive multimedia to explore the intersections of science and sacred knowledge. Utilizing Anishinaabe star maps, astrophysics, and personal narrative, GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | REVOLVING SKY creates a lens to view indigiqueerness and the current climate crisis.

Daydream Tutorial

January 12, 19 (Running Time: 50 Minutes)

By Maiko Kikuchi (Japan)

Performed in English

What if one of the eggs hatches at the supermarket today? How do you pretend you are not at home when your persistent neighbor is at the door? How do you make your own clones? First, try your way. If it doesn't work, try mine.

Japanese collagist, animator, and puppeteer, Maiko Kikuchi, mixes mediums in this solo show, inviting us to the whimsical nexus of her surreal series of daydreams.

where love lies fallow

January 12, 18 (Running Time: 75 Minutes)

By nicHi douglas (U.S.)

Performed in English

i am untouched. i feel like some unknown farmer, or God, or my ancestors have decided that i shouldn't be touched. and that my love should lie fallow.

four Black women, minds lubricated by wine, talk flowing, uncover difficult truths about personal histories and about love-beautiful, hideous, elusive love. as West African spiritualities interlace with the House dance scene, a stage play explodes into an expressive dance concert.


January 11, 17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)

Written by Tara Ahmadinejad

Created by Piehole (U.S.)

Performed in English

Disclaimer: This play contains propaganda, vague promises of Persian food, and minimally invasive audience participation.

You're invited to a consequential gathering at Nargis's house; dinner will be ready in a bit. Collaborative collective Piehole invites us to fix our relationship with Iran while surrendering to an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery. DISCLAIMER probes identity, fear, and the stakes of cultural (mis)representation.


The Under the Radar Professional Symposium is a three-day event on January 9-11, featuring a chance to see full productions of festival shows as well as keynote speakers and featured artist speakers. Attendance at the Symposium is strictly limited to presenting and producing professionals in the field. For more information on the UTR Symposium, please email

The Under the Radar Professional Symposium is a pre-conference event of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (formerly the Association of Performing Arts Presenters) and is held in conjunction with the APAP|NYC 2020 conference. APAP is the national service, advocacy, and membership organization for presenters of the performing arts and the convener of APAP|NYC, the world's leading gathering of performing arts professionals, held every January in New York City. For more information on this year's APAP conference, visit

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