January is Festival Month in NYC
nytheatre.com cover story
by Martin Denton · December 29, 2012
Summer used to be the peak season for indie theater festivals here in NYC. But that's all changed; this month there are no fewer than six new works festivals happening in venues like P.S. 122, the Public Theater, La MaMa, HERE, Incubator Arts, and the Kraine.
These events coincide—not at all accidentally!—with APAP|NYC, the annual convening of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in New York. They all make for a cornucopia of cutting-edge work on view from all over the world, some of it new to us here in the Big Apple and some of it making a reprise for the benefit of the presenters who will coming to town from all around the USA.
Adventurous theatergoers can expect a lot of what they crave: theatrical adventure.
Here's a brief rundown of these six events; check out links on the sidebar for more details about venues, ticketing, schedules, and so on. And check back on nytheatre.com as we'll be posting reviews of many festival attractions throughout the month.
Half Straddle's Seagull (Thinking of You) is part of COIL
Now in its eighth year, COIL is a presentation of P.S. 122 and features about a dozen shows in venues all around town (including, in addition to their home base, Dixon Place, The Chocolate Factory, The Kitchen, and other notable "downtown/alternative" spaces). Artists such as Peggy Shaw, Tina Satter and Half Straddle, Brian Rogers, and Annie Dorsen are among those participating. Expect high-concept performance art.
Tickets may be purchased online at ps122.org, via phone at 212-352-3101, and in person at festival hub (the lounge at Dixon Place). Single ticket prices vary per event. Ticket packages include: The PS122 Passport (5 tickets for $75 valid through June 30, 2012) and The COIL Pass (10 tickets for $122, valid through January 19, 2012), recommended for arts professionals and performance lovers.
Incubator Arts Project, the new works lab that grew out of Richard Foreman's Ontologic-Hysteric Theater a few years back, is presenting engagements by three of their esteemed artists. Grimly Handsome by Julia Jarcho is described as a dark and funny new play about crime, desire, and shifting identity. Evelyn in Concert is an experimental chamber musical from Nellie Tinder, written by Julia May Jonas. And James Moore offers an encore performance of The Book of Heads by John Zorn: said to be a beautiful, playful, and literally explosive evening of solo guitar music.
Tickets ($15-$18) can be purchased in advance at incubatorarts.org or by calling 212-352-3101. All performances are at Incubator Arts' space in St. Mark's Church on East 10th Street. (If you haven't already done so, check out the church cemetery during your visit; Peter Stuyvesant, Daniel Tompkins (of Tompkins Square fame) and others are buried there.)
SQUIRTS: New Voices in Queer Performance
This is a new event at The Club at La MaMa, curated and hosted by Dan Fishback and featuring some of his favorite new voices from the NYC queer performance world. Ranging from comedy and cabaret to video and traditional queer performance art, these young artists take cues from their predecessors while reinventing the form through the singular weirdness of their individual visions. Participants include Khi Armand, Becky Eklund, Man Meat Collective, Buzz Slutzky, Chris Tyler and Santiago Venegas, with guest artists ): Peggy Shaw (Fri, Jan 4), John Kelly (Sat, Jan 5), Deb Margolin (Sun, Jan 6), Marga Gomez (Fri, Jan 11), Mike Albo (Sat, Jan 12) and Justin Vivian Bond (Sun, Jan 13), and many others.
SQUIRTS was inspired by a dialogue between Fishback and La MaMa's Nicky Paraiso about the lineage of queer performance, and the unique power this artform has to transmit authentic, underground queer cultural memory. By showcasing younger performers in the context of their predecessors, Fishback and La MaMa hope to strengthen the world of queer performance, creating bonds between artists of all ages and resisting the generation gap caused by AIDS and gentrification. Tickets are $10-$15, online at www.lamama.org or call 212-475-7710.
This is a brand new event, launching at HERE, who are co-presenting with Beth Morrison Projects. It's described as a "hothouse" festival spotlighting fully-produced, chamber-sized opera-theatre works by emergent creators. Works featured: the world premiere co-production of Mohammed Fairouz's Sumeida's Song, based on the classic Arabic play by Tawfiq El-Hakim, directed by David Herskovits; the fully-produced New York City premiere of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, with libretto based on recorded interviews with veterans of five wars, directed by Yuval Sharon; the North American premiere of Dutch 331/3 Collective’s high design video opera Bluebeard; multimedia concerts performed by Los Angeles’s dark-glam opera band Timur and the Dime Museum; and a workshop reading of Paolo Prestini’s Aging Magician, in collaboration with stage director/designer Julian Crouch, featuring the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with text and performance by Rinde Eckert.
PROTOTYPE is happening at HERE, 3LD, and the Michael Schimmel Center for Performing Arts at PACE University. Prices ranges from $15 to $55. Festival calendar, credits, personnel, synopses, libretti, hi-resolution photos, videos, biographies, and ticket information can also be found at http://prototypefestival.org.
Under the Radar Festival
This event, produced by The Public Theater and founded by Mark Russell, will include artists from seven countries (Iran, Belarus, the Netherlands, China, Japan, the United States, and Australia); participants include Back to Back Theatre, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Belarus Free Theatre, Lemon Andersen, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma. All single tickets to festival shows are $20; Member tickets are $15.
For the first time, UTR will take place entirely at The Public Theater’s home on Lafayette Street. A late night Festival Lounge in The Public’s lobby and Shiva Theater for artists and audiences to gather after performances will also be offered. During the festival, where more than 90 performances will be presented in a 12-day marathon of theater, The Library at The Public will also be open nightly for food and drink, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Info here: www.undertheradarfestival.com.
Horse Trade Encores
Tanya O'Debra in Radio Star
Home of the FRIGID Festival and year-long programming dedicated to indie theater artists, Horse Trade Theater Group brings back some of their favorites each year at APAP time for an encore. Performances are at the Kraine Theater on East 4th Street; tickets are $12-$15 and are available online at www.horseTRADE.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444.
We reviewed several of the encoring shows in their original runs earlier this year: CollaborationTown's The Momentum, Sandrine Lafond's solo clown show Little Lady, Theatre Reverb's Initium/Finis, and Cara Yeates' Bye Bye Bombay. Also featured are Tanya O'Debra's hit Radio Star, Slash Coleman's The Neon Man and Me, and Radiotheatre's version of King Kong.