Thoughts from RADAR L.A.

In June 2011, REDCAT, Under the Radar Festival, Center Theatre Group and Theatre Communications Group hosted 15 contemporary performances in Los Angeles. I attended nine of the shows from RADAR L.A. Here are brief impressions from three:

Neva | Teatro en el Blanco
In this potent work set during Bloody Sunday (1905), three actors question the value of theater on a small platform lit by a heat lamp. The ending rant about the bourgeoisie audience had the supertitles flip so fast I held my breath. In a panel at the RADAR L.A. Symposium, director Guillermo Calderon said that he strives for laughter that starts in the stomach and ends in the brain.

State of Incarceration | Los Angeles Poverty Department (LADP) This installation/public education/performance caused some audience members to walk out and others to weep. I was in the latter category. Towards the end of the show, the performers cleaned the bunks with rags. I was stunned by this ritual of futility and dignity.

Amarillo | Teatro Linea de Sombra
Text, dance + projections = a performance result of NAFTA focusing on a man lost when trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border. I marvel at his athleticism scaling the wall of a theater but never escaping. Plastic water bottled are lit by flashlights and in the end sand falls.