Staff Writer cityXtra Magazine
All shows have to start somewhere.
Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, which launched in 2005, provides an essential breeding ground for bold new works in New York. And while not technically a queer fest, UTR has always been aggressively inclusive.
“The Under the Radar Festival is focused on art from the margins, from unheard voices, those seen as outside of society,” founder Mark Russell explains. “The LGBTQ community has existed on the outside of society for centuries—often theater was the only forum to speak of their experience. UTR embraces that history, celebrates its rich, vibrant present, and continues to push the boundaries of who gets their story told.”
Here’s the scoop on five UTR shows that may be coming soon to a theater near you.
Antigonón un Contingente Épico
Direct from Havana, countercultural theater troupe Teatro El Público tackles the tyrannical themes of Antigone, combining Greek tragedy and Cuban history through spectacle, poetry, and outrageous drag. It’s performed in Spanish with English supertitles, but the nudity is universal.
Lashed But Not Leashed
Backed by a live band, Philadelphia drag-cabaret darling Martha Graham Cracker, the outré creation of Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder Dito van Reigersberg, shares comical tales and belts original tunes in this kooky solo performance about living hard and loving even harder.
Because he’ll probably never get cast as Hamlet, U.K. drag artist and lip-sync virtuoso Dickie Beau channels the troubled Danish prince through audio recordings of historical Hamlet performances, creating a human mixtape that’s part documentary theater, part Shakespearean séance.
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)
Split Britches, gender-bending pioneers of lesbian-feminist theater, tackle aging and doomsday anxiety in this Dr. Strangelove-inspired political satire. Stars Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver developed the piece through collaborative conversation with various elders and artists.
We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time
Hot off the success of Harry Clarke, celebrated gay monologuist David Cale dredges up his memories of growing up in an industrial English town, where he escaped his parents’ turbulent marriage through Petula Clark songs, tropical birds, and other creative distractions from death.
Under the Radar 2018 runs through January 15 at various New York venues.