Crazy, Sexy, Cool: A Preview of 2023 Under the Radar Festival
After a long wait, the Under the Radar Festival is back, baby! Known for its innovative shows to kick off the new year, UTR will begin January 4 and run through the end of the month, playing at The Public, as well as Joe’s Pub, BAM, Chelsea Factory, La MaMa, the NYPL, and NYU Skirball.
For anyone who’s never been, Under the Radar is essentially NYC’s response to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (albeit on a much smaller scale). It’s a fun and affordable experience for anyone looking for a winter adventure into the downtown theater scene.
Below, we round up all of the offerings in an attempt to give theatre lovers a preview of what they can check out next month.
For sure, the buzziest production of this year’s festival is Jasmine Lee-Jones’ seven methods of killing kylie jenner, which previously played in London last year. The play follows two friends who have a falling out on social media, exploring how queerness, Black culture, and appropriation affect us in real life and online.
Additional multi-person shows include Plexus Polaire’s adaptation of Moby Dick with 50 (!!) puppets; Annie Saunders and Becca Wolff’s Our Country, combining Antigone and stories from the Wild West; Ahmed Moneka, Jesse LaVercombe and Seth Bockley’s King Gilgamesh & the Man of the Wild, which traces Moneka’s journey out of obscurity; Jessica L Hagan’s Queens of Sheeba, loosely inspired by DSTRKT nightspot incident of 2015; and Richard Maxwell’s Field of Mars, a two-act play of epic scope about humanity.
Going It Alone
Sliding into DMs is so passé—filthy letters are where it’s at. In Your Sexts Are Shit, Rachel Mars makes her NYC debut by reading and sharing some of the dirtiest epistles ever written. Expect to hear from James Joyce, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Mozart, and more.
Elsehwere, Roger Guenveur Smith performs Otto Frank, his piece about the father of Holocaust victim Anne Frank; Negin Farsad presents The Case For American Exceptionalism By a Lady Muz; Kaneza Schaal blends mythology and biography in KLII (Ed. note: as in King Leopold the Second); and Migguel Anggelo finds self-love and acceptance in LatinXoxo.
Life’s a Cabaret!
It’ll be a monster of a time as cabaret artist Salty Brine mixes Frankenstein with The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead in Bigmouth Strikes Again: The Smiths Show. The show is the latest edition of Brine’s The Living Record Collection, which explores the intersection of popular music and live performance.
Also taking audiences on a musical journey are Estzer Balint’s I Hate Memory, a co-project with STEW about Balint’s immigration from communist Hungary to ’70s New York; and Joe’s Pub mainstay Julian Fleisher examining the realities of an experience in a song.
Alright, let’s get weird! Belgian theatre collective Ontroerend Goed asks: what would the world look like if all of the damage inflicted by humans was erased for one night? Are we not drawn onward to new erA (a palindrome!) attempts to showcase destruction and healing in an unprecedented experience.
Around the city, audiences can find themselves wandering inside Timothy White Eagle and The Violet Triangle’s immersive installation The Indigo Room; participating in a misery-laden interview experience at Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey’s Protec/Attac; watching SHADOW, a film by three artists with intellectual disabilities about the future of AI; or reconstructing their own story in A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly.