The Roy Arias Studios & Theaters, located in the Times Square Arts Center at 300 West 43rd Street, will present the first Times Square International Theater Festival from January 16 to 22, 2012.
Coinciding with this festival, the complex is addressing shortage of flexible, experimental, curated performance venues in Midtown by recommissioning its fourth floor theater space (74 seats) as the Little Times Square Theatre and its fifth floor Off-Broadway theater (136 seats) as Theatre 500.
The festival is produced by Roy Arias and curated by noted director Alfred Preisser (www.alfredpreisser.com), who has staged over 40 productions in New York and regionally and was Founding Artistic Director of The Classical Theatre of Harlem.
The Times Square International Theater Festival is dedicated to work that challenges the status quo, exhibits artistic excellence and manifests invention and innovation in all of its aspects. Its mission is to provide an affordable venue for an assortment of plays and performance pieces that will not otherwise be seen in the doorstep of Broadway, offering companies of reduced budget but great artistic merit the opportunity to show their art in the heart of the theater capital of the world. The Festival also aims to inspire communication between theater companies from across the globe and to facilitate them to gain insight into each others' work. From August 15 to November 30, 2011 the festival accepted submissions from all kinds of stage plays, including musicals and new or classic pieces and twenty pieces were selected for presentation.
The lineup includes productions from Ukraine, Argentina/Spain, Germany, Italy/USA and Cuba. The state of the world economy, barriers to travel and the high cost of temporary housing in New York made it impractical to assemble a lineup of exclusively foreign plays. But it was possible to maintain a multinational scope by opening the festival to productions with an international vision, even if they were from the USA, and to artists living here who have some international influence.
The Festival includes 15 fully staged works, of which two are world premieres and five are New York premieres. Most shows will be performed three times in the week of the fest. There will be a mixture of musicals, movement theater works, choreographic works, dramas, family shows and solo shows. There will also be two staged readings and a workshop in Lecoq Technique (writing and adapting through improvisation, using mime and pantomime).
The festival will be an annual event with more offerings and longer runs planned for 2013. Separate from this festival, the Little Times Square Theatre and Theatre 500 will also be increasing their curated programming.
All full productions of the festival are $18 in advance, $20 at the door; $12 seniors and students. A festival pass is available for $99. Staged readings are $10. The Box office is SMARTTIX (212) 868-4444, www.smarttix.com. The festival website is www.tsitf.com.
DIRECTORY OF PRODUCTIONS
On the Field of Blood by Lesya Ukrainka, directed by Yuriy Rozstalny (Ukraine)
Tue, Jan 17 at 7:30 PM; Thur, Jan 19 at 6:00 PM; Sun, Jan 22 at 1:00 PM
This U.S. premiere has been presented with success in many Ukrainian cities as well as Paris, Munich and Moscow. Judas the traitor dies in the Book of Matthew. But in 1909, Lesya Ukrainka (1871-1913), one of the brightest names in the history of the Ukrainian and world literature, wrote a dramatic poem "On a Field of Blood," in which she let Judas live and condemned him to torturous labor on a desolate plot of land. The Church's censorship subjected the play to devastating criticism because by letting Judas live the poetess gave him the chance to have the last word. Today's critics hold that the dramatic sketch represents a polemic against the attempts of reactionary writers and publicists to justify a philosophy of treachery.
As Judas, reliving the key moments of Jesus' path to Mount Calvary, goes through his own Way of the Cross, the authors (Lesya Ukrainka and adapter Yuriy Rozstalny) make him walk in circles through the hell of pangs of consciousness: he falls under the burden of the Last Supper, during which Jesus assigned him this task, saying "Here is the traitors hand beside me." Then, emulating Jesus on the cross, he crucifies himself. Just as a worn out body can't find rest, so a torn soul will never be at peace with the world. Staging the story allows Judas now to be seen as well as heard. With: Ostap Stupka and Dmytro Rybalevskyi.