Under the Radar Tries its Hand at Site-Specific Work

One of the city's best theater festivals enters its fourth season

Russell, who mounts Under the Radar while the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference is in town, hopes that national and international producers will focus on Etiquette—and that other theater artists will, too. Perhaps they'll see it as an invitation to follow Rotozaza's lead and step away from the proscenium arch. He cites Etiquette, Small Metal Objects, and Of All the People in the World: U.S.A. as "exemplary site-specific pieces . . . I hope the artists of New York will see and be inspired." At its best, site-specific work has the power not only to prompt a reconsideration of what theater is, but also to transfigure a familiar space. The slick efficiency of the Whitehall terminal or the anonymous glossiness of the World Financial Center—maybe even the genial hubbub of Veselka—might seem transformed once one has witnessed or shared in a performance there.

The Foundry must also desire such a result. They first made their name with W. David Hancock's The Convention of Cartography, which played at a gallery in Chelsea in 1994. They'll next attempt Aaron Landsman's Open House, which will appear in 30 living rooms around the city beginning February 9. Ganglani, the Foundry member who has helped scout locales, says: "We're in walk-downs in the very tip of Bensonhurst and penthouses across the street from the Metropolitan Museum. We'll see what the hell happens." We'll also see what the hell happens this week when Under the Radar exposes the bustle and scurry of Veselka to avant-garde performance. One consolation: If all doesn't go according to plan, at least there's comfort food quite close by.

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