The undergroundzero festival is an experimental theater festival curated by Paul Bargetto and produced by East River Commedia in association with Collective:Unconscious. Now in its third year, the undergroundzero festival has given producing artists a flying laboratory outside the usual curatorial system where risk is encouraged and innovation can flourish.
At the heart of the festival is a question asked of every artist: What would you make if you could make anything you wanted? Our mandate is to select artists, not projects. We trust the artist to make his or her own creative choices. In exchange for this trust we expect radical experimentation and the courage to risk everything. This year undergroundzero will present fifteen full productions and five staged readings on both stages of Performance Space 122.
UPSTAIRS AT PERFORMANCE SPACE 122:
The South Wing – AOI!
Wed, Jul 8 7p | Thu, Jul 9 9p | Fri, Jul 10 7p | Sat, Jul 11 9p | Sun, Jul 12 5p
“A remarkable young company determined to carve a niche for itself in 21st century avant-garde theater.” – Frank Episale, Off-off online (for DiVL!)
A tale of passion that survives the grave, when nothing is left but an
empty desire to possess and destroy. (60 Minutes)
East River Commedia – The Jamal Lullabies
Wed, Jul 8 9p | Thu, Jul 9 7p | Fri, Jul 10 9p | Sat, Jul 11 7p | Sun, Jul 12 2p
Four young, white women sing about Jamal, a beloved black student at their school who was killed at a gang shooting during a party. As the women unfold their stories it
becomes clear that each of them loved him in profound ways that altered the course of their lives. Scored by Emily Conbere and directed by Paul Bargetto. (50 Minutes)
Blessed Unrest – Nick
Wed, Jul 15 9:30p | Thu, Jul 16 7p | Fri, Jul 17 7p | Sat, Jul 18 7p | Sun, Jul 19 5p
“…emotional intensity…. sheer originality… delightful surprises.” – Pamela Newton, Time Out New York (For Doruntine)
Blessed Unrest, 2008 Innovative Theatre Award winner for Outstanding Play, presents an electrifying, contemporary adaptation of Chekhov’s Ivanov. (95 Minutes)
Pinchbottom Burlesque – Pretencion
Wed, Jul 15 7p | Thu, Jul 16 10p | Fri, Jul 17 10p | Sat, July 18 10p | Sun, Jul 19 7p
“The best burlesque show in town” -The Village Voice
Step into the world of Pinchbottom’s Pretencion: un cirque de burlesque, un burlesque de cirque — but be careful not to trip on the magic. (90 Minutes)
Dangerous Ground – 3!
Wed, Jul 22 9p | Thu, Jul 23 7p | Fri, Jul 24 9p | Sat, Jul 25 7p | Sun, Jul 26 5p
3! is a multimedia experiment inspired by Fassbinder’s 1979 film The Third Generation. Hybrid forms of performance subvert reality in an attempt to interrogate violence. (120 Minutes)
Jack Ferver – I Am Trying To Hear Myself and Vandam Goodbar
Wed Jul 22 7p | Fri Jul 24 7p | Sat Jul 25 9p | Sun Jul 26 2p
Two works about desire, longing, and humiliation. “I Am Trying To Hear Myself” concerns the elusive quality of romance and the disappointment of viewing one’s current life through the idealization of one’s past. “Vandam Goodbar” is a new piece about the humorous, disturbing, and unfortunate violent excursions that can happen in the restless search for a connection.
Richard Maxwell and The Reena Spaulings Band
Thu Jul 23 9p
The Reena Spaulings Band is a country music band, a rag-tag outfit, with ever-changing personnel exploring the ever-expanding kingdom of Country music. Imagine being alone, perusing the rows of your local library branch on a Friday night. Maybe you’re trying to better yourself, get cultured, when you happen upon a kind of music all but forgotten. This band provides a night of Country unlike any other-a musical template of possibilities, potential energy upon which you wander. Featuring: Bob Feldman (saxophone), Jim Fletcher (vocals, harmonica, recorder), Mike Iveson (vocals, piano), Rich Maxwell (vocals, guitar) and Brian Mendes (vocals, guitar, bass).
DOWNSTAIRS AT PERFORMANCE SPACE 122:
Thinking Person’s Theater – She of the Voice
Tue, Jul 7 7:30p | Wed, Jul 8 7:30p | Thu, Jul 9 7:30p | Fri, Jul 10 7:30p
“Delectable, sweeping… audaciously playful…Kunzru writes with wry certitude and cinematic precision.”-The New York Times
What’s the difference between a wise fool and crazy neighbor? Magda Mandela’s fellow citizens ponder this and more in an adaptation of award-winning author Hari Kunzru’s free-wheeling exploration of human fellowship. (60 Minutes)
WaxFactory & Eric Dean Scott – Tales from Bordertown (prologue)
Tue, Jul 7 9:30p | Wed, Jul 8 9:30p | Thu, Jul 9 9:30p | Fri, Jul 10 9:30p
Let’s get lost. Downtown performer Eric Dean Scott follows a trail of dreams, poetry, jazz recollection, lost roads, New Orleans and the razor’s edge…past shore, past time, past place….into bordertown. (90 Minutes)
Nora Woolley & Christine Witmer – Selling Splitsville
Sat, Jul 11 7 :30p | Sun, Jul 12 5:30p | Sat, Jul 18 5:30p | Sun, Jul 19 5:30p
TV shopping hosts Kath and Cheryl Marissa hawk speciality products for divorced families. Go from denial to acceptance in three easy instalments of $19.99. Directed by Raquel Cion. (75 Minutes)
Hoi Polloi – Winter Journey
Tue, Jul 14 7:30p | Wed, Jul 15 7:30p | Sat, Jul 18 7:30p | Sun, Jul 19 2:30p
“Pitch-perfect. . . this is a chance to watch an already impressive director as he modulates into a higher key.” – Time Out New York (The Less We Talk)
Hoi Polloi Artistic Director Alec Duffy explores his father’s lifelong obsession with Schubert’s late masterwork, the “Winterreise” song cycle. (55 minutes)
Wolf 359 – Evanston: A Rare Comedy
Tue, Jul 14 9:30p | Wed, Jul 15 9:30p | Thu, Jul 16 9:30p | Fri, Jul 17 7:30p
“A very gifted group of young artists” – Andy Horowitz, Culturebot
A teenage girl disappears in deepest suburbia, and a meeting of the Evanston Women’s Book Club ends in blood. (90 minutes)
Columbia University School of the Arts – The Misanthrope
An ensemble-created contemporary revisiting of Moliere’s classic social comedy told with austere passion and ecstatic frustration in music, movement, and verse.
Thu, Jul 16 7:30p | Fri, Jul 17 9:30p | Sat, Jul 18 9:30p | Sun, Jul 19 7:30p
NU Classic Theater – Apocalypsis Cum Figuris and The Constant Prince
Tue, Jul 21 7:30p | Wed, Jul 22 7:30p | Wed, Jul 22 9:30p | Thu, Jul 23 9:30p | Fri, Jul 24 7:30p NU Classic Theater presents Apocalypsis Cum Figuris and The Constant Prince, to commemorate Grotowski and his actors work; with poetry, a state of crisis, a biomechanics etude, and intense physicality. (60 minutes)
Coffee Cup (a theatre co.) – We Are Being Held
Thu, Jul 23 7:30p | Fri, Jul 24 9:30p | Sat, Jul 25 5:30p | Sat, Jul 25 7:30p | Sun, Jul 26 7:30p
A highly physical original show rooted in the minute and momentary connections that pass between us on the subway. (75 minutes)
playgroundzero (staged readings) created/curated by Saviana Stanescu
playgroundzero aims to offer a chance to exposure to plays that are highly original, risk-taking, innovative, bold and provocative.
- Me You Us Them by Andrea Lepcio Sat, Jul 11 3:30p
- Incomplete and Beautiful by Nathaniel Kressen Sun, Jul 12 2:30p The hilarious coming-of-age story of a group of artists in the gentrified East Village of NYC. (90 Minutes)
- For a Barbarian Woman by Saviana Stanescu Sat, Jul 18 2:30p
- Vattago by Ian Cohen Sat, Jul 25 2:30p The demon, Vattago, infiltrates the home and workplace of Matt Ross, resulting in chaos and death. A comedy.
- Torrents by Robert Attenweiler Sun, Jul 26 3:30p
The story of two sisters battling the divide of one’s rural militia agenda and the other’s fundamentalist religious hope. (75 Minutes)