Under the Radar Festival: 5 must-see shows and performances

Under the Radar Festival: 5 must-see shows and performances

For the last 16 years, the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater has been an incubator innovative productions and artists. The showcase has played host to Gob Squad, Guillermo Calderon, Young Jean Lee and a swath of other dramatists who continue to make their mark on the city’s theater scene.

The 2020 iteration continues to blaze the same trail, offering audiences a new slate of promising productions to choose from. Check out the shows we’re most excited about, and find a full listing here. 


Written by Selina Thompson, performed by Rochelle Rose, directed by Dawn Walton
Martinson Hall
Jan. 10 through Jan. 19

“salt.” is a powerful story about two artists returning from a 2016 trip that traced the route of the Translatlantic Slave Triangle. The artists grapple with their memories, their questions and their grief over the brutality of their shared history.

“Not I by Samuel Beckett”

Performed by Jess Thom and directed by Matthew Pountney
Jan. 10 through Jan. 19

“Not I by Samuel Beckett” stars Jess Thom, a performer with Tourettes whose condition is central to the themes of the show. As she takes on Beckett’s famous work, she raises questions about who is allowed to perform, and the acceptance of neurodiversity on stage. All productions will be accompanied by an ASL interpreter and performer.

“The Truth Has Changed”

Written and performed by Josh Fox
Newman Theater
Jan. 11 to Jan. 19

How do we know what’s true? Josh Fox traces the arc of misinformation and propaganda in America from Sept. 11, 2001 to the election of President Donald Trump. Special attention is paid to the Iraq war, the calamitous BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Standing Rock, among other turning points in American political history.

Daniel J. Watts’ “The Jam: Only Child”

Starring and produced by Daniel J. Watts
Joe’s Pub
Jan. 6 through Jan. 20

“The Jam: Only Child” pays homage to Watts’ great grandmother. A blend of stand-up comedy and storytelling, the show is a poignant and memorable look at one man’s attempt at “letting go.”

Open Circle: Black Art, Black Liberation

Featuring nicHi douglas, Deadria Harrington, Juliette Jones, Eric Lockley, and Kameron Neal
The Library
Jan. 19 at 12 p.m.

Hosted by Public Forum, this event invites artists to explore liberation through the lens of the African Diaspora. Part roundtable discussion and part community conversationn, this series of frank discussions invites audiences to connect with creatives who are in direct dialogue with the world and each other.

For the full lineup and ticket information, head to the Under the Radar and The Public Theater website

Top Image: Rochelle Rose in "salt." Credit: Johan Persson