EAST RIVER COMMEDIA MISSION AND HISTORY
East River Commedia is a group of international artists founded in 1998 who collaborate on the production and development of ensemble-based performance works and festivals in New York City and abroad. Recognizing the need for greater international representation in theater and performing arts in New York, the company works closely with international artists, consulates and cultural organizations to reach out to the city's many communities.
In addition, the members of ERC believe in the importance of a wide scope of influence and audience, and are committed to productions, tours, and residencies in foreign countries as an integral part of the group's ongoing development. The company is interested in theater that emerges at the crossroads of poetry, music and gesture. In these forms, we seek to explore human desires - for power, love, belonging and possession - and to uncover the contradictory and mysterious drives that bind audience and performer, parent and child, individual and society.
Our most powerful tool is laughter, a kind of laughter that Fellini calls: "...the intention of the real - that is, the deepest and most honest - writers of comedy," authors who want "only to tear open our most painful scars so that we feel them all the more strongly."
Founded in 1998 by Paul Bargetto, ERC has produced at many venues in New York City including Performance Space 122, La MaMa, Collective: Unconscious, the Connelly Theater, The Sanford Meisner Theater, WAX, Riverside Church & University Settlement. Internationally ERC has been presented in Romania, Germany, Poland, & Turkey. ERC has produced a wide variety of playwrights both ancient and new including Slawomir Mrozek, Euripedes, Shakespeare, Crommelynck, and current artists such as Emily Conbere, Sheila Callaghan, Dorota Maslowska and Saviana Stanescu. In addition to producing plays, ERC also produces undergroundzero, an annual festival of experimental theater in NYC and Voices from undergroundzero, an international version. The company consists of a core group of artists including Troy Lavallee, Mimi Lien, Heather Benton, Nora Woolley, Piotr Redlisnki, Amiel Melnick, Rad Kaim, and Rachael Rayment.
The undergroundzero festival is an experimental theater festival conceived by Paul Bargetto and produced by East River Commedia in association with Collective:Unconscious and Performance Space 122. Founded in 2007, the undergroundzero festival has given producing artists an experimental laboratory where artists are free to take risks and develop new forms. In the past three years the festival has presented over fifty artists and companies including The Flying Machine, Au Ments, Lafabrica, Josh Fox and International WOW, Green Hours, Alvin Sputnik, David Barlow, axis ballymun, Theater Bielefeld, Leigh Evans, Theater Trouve, Jose Zayas, Wolf 359, Michael Yates Crowley, Ian Rowlands, Caleb Hammond, Charlie Victor Romeo, Saviana Stanescu, John Clancy, TerraNOVA Collective, Performance Lab 115, Pinchbottom Burlesque, Fredi Price, Clowns Ex Machina, Eric Dean Scott, Eliza Bent, Gillian Chadsey, Harrison Rivers, Leah Gelpe, Stolen Chair, Emily Conbere, Josh Koeningsberg, The South Wing, Hoi Polloi, Blessed Unrest, Coffee Cup, NU Classic Theater, Jack Ferver, Doris Mirescu, WAX Factory, Columbia University School of the Arts, and Richard Maxwell.