Tonight, the 2011 (that date still looks disturbingly science fiction oriented to me) edition of the Under The Radar Festival begins. As always, produced under the auspices of The Public Theater (except, of course, for the first year when it was at St. Ann's Warehouse). The offerings look particularly interesting this year, as companies from around the globe converge on The Public and LaMaMa.
I'm sure many audience members will be particularly interested in seeing the Belarus Free Theatre present their production of Being Harold Pinter. Until very, very recently it was unclear as to whether the company would be able to perform. You see, the name "Belarus Free Theatre" isn't the ironic moniker of some hipper than thou theatrical enterprise out of Bushwick, but an underground group of artists who perform at great personal risk in their native Minsk and abroad. A few weeks ago, Artistic Director Natalia Koliada, was arrested by the KGB during a protest of the recent Belarus election (Surprise. President Lukashenko, the last of the European dictators won with more than 80% of the vote. Most of the opposition was immediately imprisoned. Democracy in action!). Although other company members remain in prison (UPDATE: they're out, and are making their way to NYC!), it looks as though the company will perform as scheduled. According to Artistic Director Mark Russell's facebook page, Natalia and her co-Artistic Director and husband, Nikolai Khalezin, have landed in New York. A statement from Koliada:
I've been tapped to guest blog some reviews by the New York Theater Review this year, so you can check out my coverage there - in addition to that of the other, no doubt wonderful, bloggers.
Under The Radar runs from January 5 through January 16. Information and tickets can be found here.