The Civilians is a production company that develops original projects based in the creative investigation of actual experience.
Using methods that combine documentary and artistic practices, the company creates engaging shows that illuminate the interplay between the personal and larger social phenomena. The performances are boldly theatrical and rooted in a dynamic relationship to the audience, taking inspiration from the full range of theatrical forms—from cabaret to experimental theater. The Civilians works with a multidisciplinary group of Associate Artists who generate ideas and collaborate on the development of new work.
Since its founding in 2001 by Artistic Director Steven Cosson, The Civilians have created four original shows that have been presented by a range of venues including joe’s pub, The Public Theater and other theaters, nightclubs, and art centers.
CANARD, CANARD, GOOSE?
In the fall of 2001, The Civilians leave New York City to pursue a story about a Hollywood movie and a lost flock of carelessly imprinted geese resulting in an eclectic show about disorientation, misplaced empathy and coming home.
Company-devised, directed by Steven Cosson, music/lyrics by Michael Freidman, additional text by Anne Washburn. With Damian Baldet, Aysan Celik, Aimée Guillot, Jennifer R. Morris, Charlie Schroeder, Brian Sgambati, Colleen Werthmann. Designers: Louisa Thompson, Sarah Beers, Gwen Grossman, Sam Tresler. Music Director: Kris Kukul.
Performed at Joe''s Pub/The Public Theater and HERE.
Stories about things lost and found, with songs by Michael Friedman charting a musical landscape of loss. The six performers play over 30 characters, intertwining stories of lost objects with those of the "finders," from a retired NYPD cop to a pet psychic.
Company-devised, directed by Steven Cosson, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman, additional text by Peter Morris. With Damian Baldet, Trey Lyford, Jennifer R. Morris, Brian Sgambati, Alison Weller, and Colleen Werthmann. Designers: Takeshi Kata, Sarah Beers, Thomas Dunn, Ken Travis. Developmental workshop participants: Quincy Bernstine, Isaac Butler, Matthew Francis, Jonathan Spector, & Winter Miller.
Performed in New York at Joe''s Pub/The Public Theater (New Hybrids Now!), Galapagos Art Space, The Belt Theater, and in the Under the Radar Festival at St. Ann''s Warehouse; in London at The Gate; and on tour at Vanderbilt University (Nashville), Brown University (Providence), Universities of California at Santa Barbara, Riverside, and Irvine, Fairfield University (Connecticut), Pennsylvania State University, the Everett Dance Theater Carriage House Stage (Providence), Connecticut College, Davidson College (North Carolina), and Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky), ongoing.
Steve Cosson is the founding Artistic Director of The Civilians. With the company, writer/director of Nobody''s Lunch (PS 122), Paris Commune (La Jolla Playhouse, co-authored with Michael Friedman); Gone Missing (productions in New York, London, HBO''s US Comedy Festival, US tour); and Canard, Canard, Goose? (joe''s pub/Public Theater and HERE). At Soho Rep, US premiere of Attempts on Her Life (Martin Crimp), also The Communist Dracula Pageant (Anne Washburn), and Marge (Peter Morris). Regionally, US premieres of Sarah Kane''s Phaedra''s Love, Peter Morris'' The Square Root of Minus One; new plays by Erik Ehn, John C. Russell, and others; Measure for Measure; The Importance of Being Earnest (ACT Conservatory); The Time of Your Life (Williamstown Theatre Festival); recently Caryl Churchill''s Serious Money at Carnegie Mellon University. Other original work: Fingered, (ASK Theater Projects and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts); and Close to Shore, (San Diego Rep). 2004 OBIE for The Civilians. Resident Director at New Dramatists; MacDowell Fellow; NEA/TCG Career Development Program; Boris Sagal Fellow, Williamstown Theatre Festival. MFA from UC San Diego; Fulbright Scholar, Colombia.
Michael Friedman (Composer/Lyricist) work includes The Civilians'' Nobody''s Lunch (PS122), Gone Missing (New York and London''s Gate Theatre), and Canard, Canard, Goose?, as well as Darko Tresnjak''s The Blue Demon (Huntington Theatre). With Steve Cosson, he wrote Paris Commune (La Jolla Playhouse). He also wrote music for Christopher Durang''s Mrs. Bob Cratchit''s Wild Christmas Binge, Melissa James Gibson''s Suitcase (Soho Rep and La Jolla) and Neal Bell''s Spatter Pattern (Playwrights Horizons), as well as Who''s Afraid of the Big Bad Book (Soho Theatre, London), Roulette (Houseman Theater), Cats Talk Back and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret of Making Whoopie (NYFringe), Attempts on Her Life (Soho Rep), 8 by Tenn (Hartford Stage), The Song of Songs (Greenwich Street Theater). His work has been seen at the Public, NYTW, La Mama, the ART, The Acting Company and for five seasons at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He composed the score for the documentary film On Common Ground. He was the dramaturg for the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon, a 2003 MacDowell fellow and is a founding Associate Artist of the Obie-Award-winning Civilians.
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