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BWW Special Feature: 99 and Under the Radar; Two reasons to go 'Under'

Welcome to 99 AND UNDER THE RADAR: A LOOK AT INDIE THEATER'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS, BroadwayWorld's new weekly series that showcases standout productions and production companies from the independent theater scene in New York City. Each week, independent producer Michael Roderick will be discussing the latest goings on in the theatrical wings, highlighting those with potentially bright futures. 

This Week's Topic: Two reasons to go "Under"

The summer is a time for festivals and celebration in the Indie Theatre Community and as a result, numerous festivals and celebrations are presented during these hot summer months. The two profiled this week have incredibly specific focuses and offer an unmatched theatrical experience.

First up is PS 122's Undergroundzero: A festival of theater arts presented by East River Commedia. From the press release: "Now in its fourth year the festival focuses on more experimental work and gives artists a platform on which to grow and develop, while being encouraged to push boundaries and try new things. This years selection offers a wide range of shows from dance, burlesque, bi-lingual theatre, magic, and puppetry and will feature a number of well known NYC-based experimental theatre companies as well as quite a few International Artists from Australia, Italy, Romania, Ireland, and Germany. In addition to the mainstage offerings undergroundzero will also be doing a number of staged readings as part of playgroundzero and special roundtable discussions and presentations focusing on the international companies." It's clear from this that the audience is in for a wide range of experiences when attending any number of shows in this festival, and after having the experience of seeing Father of Lies, one of the festival's offerings, the audience is in for they type of experience that is not soon forgotten.

It's often been discussed that one of the problems with most productions is that the designers, the actors, and the director all are not on the same page. In the case of the expertly executed Father of Lies, it could be argued that everyone involved in the production is not only on the same page, they share the same heartbeat. The fusion of lighting, direction, performance and sound design is so in sync that the result for the viewer is both visually and emotionally arresting. Adapted with razor sharp precision by director Jose Zayas from a very dark novel by the accomplished writer Brian Evenson, this production proves that there is still new ground to be explored in levels of theatricality. The way sound is used in this piece has to be witnessed to fully appreciate the inventiveness on Zayas' part as he draws us in with an almost David Lynch style of exposition, forcing the audience to struggle with putting pieces together as we try to unearth motivations of the characters.The subsequent journey that we are taken on is one that is always intense, engaging, and surprising. The story revolves around a provost being accused of doing horrible things to children, which is a topic that has certainly been in the news and could easily turn into a huge cliche. Instead, through a team of incredibly talented and versatile actors, the tale is turned into one of good and evil, one's blind belief in faith, and how dangerous faith can be. To say more about the twists and turns in the narrative, would be to rob the audience of the experience of being in the room with the energy that emanates from this stellar cast and dynamic production. What must be stated is that the cast of Evan Enderle, Richard Toth, Jocelyn Kuritsky, Pete McCabe, Matt Huffman, and Jessica Pohly throw themselves so wholeheartedly into their performances that the violent moments really feel like they are happening. The screams feel real as do the tears and by the time the lights fade they have indeed transformed us all. For more information about the offerings of the Underground festival, including how to get tickets to Father of Lies, Click here.

Next up is an entirely different type of experience, One that incorporates elements likely to be found in a circus. The Deconstructive Theatre Project is presenting an evening of aerial silks, acrobatics, and live music all which tie in to a presentation where the performers take on the roles of Greek Gods as a way to drum up support for their upcoming production of the Orpheus Variations later this year. The show is being performed at The House of Yes, which is the same locale as the Love Show's Raising Capital which was profiled previously on this column. The evening will feature performances by Kae Burke, Ryan Homsey, Adam Hussein, Nicki Miller, Danielle Natoli, Kendall Rileigh,Adam Scott, The Shivers, Bronwyn Sims, Adam J. Thompson & Ben Williams. From the press release: "Bored with the cushioned confines of Mount Olympus, a dissolute band of gods decides to go slumming in Hell...." This is sure to be a really fun experience as well as a chance to see something different in the theatrical community. For more info and how to get tickets to this one night only event, click here.

This weekend is full of reasons to go down under from festivals to parties, the Indie Theatre community proves again and again that there is a unique experience waiting for its audience at every turn.... and even underground.

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From This Author - Michael Roderick