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LaGuardia to host festival of international theater

For the first time, the Queens community will have the opportunity to attend an international theater festival in their home borough, when The Internationalists, the resident theater company at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, stages a nine-day program of plays that riff on Homer’s “Odyssey” at the college this month.

The festival features both directors and playwrights from different countries, under the auspices of The Internationalists, a group of directors from around the world who have completed a year-long residency with the LPAC Lab, which provides aspiring artists with the space for their productions, and helps them promote their shows.

“It was a brilliant idea to present this epic about a journey, and on top of that have it directed by directors from different parts of the world” says Handan Ozbilgin, artistic director of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center.

The international festival is believed to be the first of its kind in Queens, and the lineup will feature original pieces by eight directors from six countries, including the United States, Germany, Romania, France, Australia and the Netherlands. The directors met at a directors’ lab at Lincoln Center and were inspired to form a group to promote the arts and global diversity.

Ozbilgin said LPAC rewarded The Internationalists with the LPAC Lab grant because of the overall mission of the group. They stand for approaching the arts from a global perspective.

“I believe Queens is a smaller version of the world, and I cannot think of a better festival or group to reflect this,” she said.

The concept of each play in the festival is derived from the classical epic poem, “The Odyssey.” Some universal themes of these original works will include home, mystery, choice, identity and myth.

All of the works are divided into different categories, each consisting of four pieces. The shows can be seen separately in two different programs or together as a marathon performance July 24. Ozbilgin recommended seeing all the shows together in order to discover “which direction home” at the conclusion.

Discount tickets at $18 are offered for those audience members who wish to see the complete works.

Ozbilgin said LPAC would welcome the chance to host another festival by The Internationalists in the future, or festivals with similar themes. She said she hopes that their future works will continue to be “something exciting, new and global.”

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