Rock, Reminiscence and Sci-Fi Will Be Part of Under the Radar Festival


A concert performance of “Parable of the Sower,” an operatic adaptation of two novels by Octavia Butler. Credit Kevin Yatarola

The Public Theater’s 2018 Under the Radar Festival will feature pieces inspired by the work of the pioneering science fiction writer Octavia Butler and the influential rock critic Lester Bangs, as well as an autobiographical show from the New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik.

The theater on Tuesday announced the lineup of the festival, which, in its 14th year, is dedicated to exposing audiences to works that fall outside of the mainstream. Among the troupes that gained recognition at the festival are Elevator Repair Service and the Belarus Free Theater.

While Mark Russell, the festival’s director, said he doesn’t program according to a theme, he mentioned the show “Parable of the Sower,” based on the Butler novels “Parable of the Sower” and “Parable of the Talents,” as emblematic of the lineup.

An operatic adaptation by the mother and daughter Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, the dystopian story follows a young woman named Lauren as she moves through her life in a crumbling America.


Adam Gopnik will present an autobiographical show in the 2018 Under the Radar Festival. Credit Jason Falchook

“That’s what we decided would be the heart of the festival and then I started moving from there,” he said on Monday, pointing to Andrew Schneider’s “After” and Dickie Beau’s Hamlet-inspired “Re-Member Me” as other notable building blocks.

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