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Under the Radar Festival Returns, Smaller but Still Funky


A cultural re-examination is also what Annie Saunders and Becca Wolff have planned for the New York premiere of their hourlong show “Our Country,” a meeting of mythic and modern America set in California’s marijuana country and inspired by Sophocles’ “Antigone” (Jan. 12-16, 21-23).

A pair of solo shows also highlight the schedule: The playwright Inua Ellams (“Barber Shop Chronicles”) will perform his 90-minute, music- and poetry-filled piece “An Evening with an Immigrant,” which chronicles his journey from Nigeria to England (Jan. 18-20). Roger Guenveur Smith, an actor known for his roles in Spike Lee films, will return to the festival with his hourlong solo show “Otto Frank,” a historical account of the father of Anne Frank, who was the only immediate member of his family to survive the Holocaust (Jan. 13-16, 20-23).

Rounding out the slate is a double bill of “Mud/Drowning,” two intimate works by María Irene Fornés, a Cuban American playwright and director who died in 2018, which, following a sold-out run last year, will return to the experimental theater company Mabou Mines (Jan. 12-16, 18-23, 25-30). “Mud,” a play by Fornés, is a grim consideration of ignorance, poverty and desperation, while “Drowning,” a half-hour “pocket” opera by the composer Philip Glass, is adapted from Fornés’s five-page surreal play based on a short story by Anton Chekhov.

A new initiative, “Under the Radar: On the Road,” will also bring a pair of Pascal Rambert monologues, “The Art of Theater” and “With My Own Hands,” to a venue called PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, N.Y., which sits on 100 acres of orchards, meadows and woodlands (Jan. 14-15, 22-23).

Following the Under the Radar Festival, “An Evening with an Immigrant” will also be performed at Oklahoma City Repertory Theater (Jan. 22-23) and at Stanford University (Jan. 29-30), and “Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner” will transfer to Washington, D.C., for a three-week run at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Feb. 14-March 6).


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