Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy President's Day!

In honor of the national holiday that I am most prone to forget that celebrates the leaders of our nation, here are some quotes about leaders and leading from past Civilains' shows. Not terribly optimistic, I'm afraid... 

Now I’m feeling unhappy about my country because I do not understand the president I have. Presidents have been inadequate. Presidents have been crooked. Presidents have been whatever… not behaving well. (Oh I can’t forgive Clinton. He should have had better taste.)  But this man is really incredible. I’m afraid… I’ll tell you that as a child of immigrant parents, who lived during McCarthy, I’m afraid to send a letter to the editor of the New York Times. I’m afraid to say something negative about Bush because someone will come down on me and I’m just too old now to handle it. And I’m very disappointed in the Democrats. I’ve always thought they were more concerned with the general population. They used to go out in the streets with papers and say, “This is not good. This is what’s really going on.”  But now … I don’t know what people care about. It’s like people have forgotten how to feel pain. And those are the type of people that don’t have dogs.

The king learned much from his friend - 
 that his power was a gift,
and against the nature of things, to abuse it.
The people were glad.
There was peace, for a time...
But the heart of the king was not easy.

Isn’t the whole point of the Commune that it’s—that it will be different? I think, sure, Louise Michel says too that the Commune will have to—it should be ready to fight to defend itself. And Louise, yeah, she’s prepared to fight and die even - but for liberation. Which I think is by definition the opposite of “authority,” right?

Well no.  I mean, not necessarily.  Not if the authority serves the people.  If you’re going to take over a city you’re going to need some sort of effective and decisive leadership, right?

Paris, we are making a revolution!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Civilians at the Humana Festival!

Civilians' artists are all up in The Humana Festival for New American Plays this year (where This Beautiful City premiered in 2008)!

Artistic Director Steve Cosson is directing Anne Washburn (playwright of Mr. Burns - which was recently named a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize!)'s new play, A DEVIL AT NOON - more info HERE!

Also, Maple and Vine will be receiving its world premiere at Humana this year. This new play by Jordan Harrison is based on an investigation by Civilians' artists into communities resistant to modern technologies - more info HERE!

The festival starts in two weeks!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from The Civilians!

Here are what a few of our shows have to say about the relevant, contemporary topic of this week - which is to say, love!

From YOU BETTER SIT DOWN Tales from my parents' divorce:

So I guess the main question is – why do people fall in and out of love?  Why is one second children are in the middle of a stable family, and the next moment, you know… you’re driving up to a vacation in Maine, right?  (laughs)  And you know, who is this dark-haired woman sitting next to you… Dad? 

As far as your Mom goes, there are two separate possible explanations, as far as I can see, and I don’t know which it was, really… either she fell out of love with me, or she just wanted to fuck other guys, you know?  (Laughs)

I always will love, the cherries of spring,
The season which leaves a hole in my heart,
A wound that is never healed.
And all that may be by Fortune revealed
It never will soothe the grief in my soul.
I always will love the cherries of spring,
And think of the hole I guard in my heart.

I mean I’m not sure just hearing about things is real. The radio sings about love, for instance, but love’s something you have to experience for yourself to know it… That’s true. Or at least I think that’s true!

Friday, February 11, 2011


The three-weeks of protests in Egypt connected to the decades-old dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak were finally successful today, ending with President Mubarak stepping down and passing authority to a "council of military leaders." (more info in the Times HERE).

Here are two interesting blog discussions of the current revolution in Egypt as compared to the 1871 uprising in Paris (explored in The Civilians' PARIS COMMUNE).

Cairo 2011, Paris 1871: The Uses and Misuses of History
Going Viral, Paris Commune-Style: Egypt Uses Old Tools to Spark New Revolution

Here's a quick excerpt from PARIS COMMUNE:
Citizens! Power shared is true freedom. It is time that fraternity replaces charity, and federation replaces hierarchy! If I were the only person saying all this, people could say that I was a pathological case.  But there are thousands of us now, millions, none of whom gives a damn about authority. You see? Do you see?! It’s a simple thing. Don’t beg for your place in the world, take it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How is adult entertainment affecting gender dynamics? - Connected to PRETTY FILTHY

Porn nerd alert! A recent article in The Atlantic Hard Core claims that free, streaming, ubiquitous internet porn is revealing "a warring [sexual] dynamic based on power and subjugation [that] has always existed between men and women." The internet begs to differ, and is not taking this lying down.

Here are some reactions:

The Abstract Factory argues with the idea that the supply of porn is representative of the demand for porn, and other economic concerns.

Tana Geneva of Alternet explores the implications of the article for feminists in the sexual arena.

Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon brings up the fact that most men are relatively ashamed of their porn habits, which changes the dynamic.

Fleshbot(NSFW) wishes Vargas-Cooper had interviewed any actual porn producers and/or consumers.

If you get a chance, take a look at the whole discussion and let us know what you think! 

Post by Laura Shapiro

And also, click HERE for pics on Playbill's Photo Call from A PRETTY FILTHY EVENING on Saturday!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How are things IN THE FOOTPRINT?

Things are moving along in the construction site at this point. HERE is a video from the Nets Daily website showing the steelworkers putting up the structure, and even more has gone up since then. 

HERE is Norman Oder's commentary on the latest construction alert that details how the plans are changing as the construction progresses.

And as things are going up down at Atlantic and Flatbush, Freddy's bar (the setting of a few scenes in IN THE FOOTPRINT) reopened last week at 627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope. HERE is what Norman Oder has to say about it, and HERE are some photos from opening!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blast from the Past

Here's a picture from THE LADIES, which premiered in 2004. It explores the lives of Eva PerĂ³n, Madame Mao, Elena Ceausescu, Imelda Marcos — and those of project author Anne Washburn and director Anne Kauffman — told through gossip, tape recorders, torch songs, spectacle, and grim historical analysis.

And click HERE for more production photos!

The Ladies (February, 2004 at Dixon Place) From left: Quincy Tyler Bernstein, Nina Hellman, Colleen Werthmann, Allison Weller, Jennifer R. Morrus and Maria Dizzia. Anne Washburn scripted this examination of the wives of infamous dictators.

Photograph: David Gochfeld

Friday, February 4, 2011

Michael Friedman and Bess Wohl in The Spotlight for A PRETTY FILTHY EVENING

Composer and lyricist Michael Friedman and playwright Bess Wohl were interviewed for the Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog about A Pretty Filthy Evening at the Kirk Douglas Theatre this weekend (which is already sold out). It's a fantastic piece:

What was your strangest interview?
Wohl: I went to the set of “Not the Bradys XXX.” That pretty much collapsed every fantasy of my childhood.

Michael, the world of adult entertainment seems wildly different from the emo-history of "Andrew Jackson."
Friedman: Actually musical theater is very similar to porn.  It’s a fantasy about attractive people who do cool things. It’s a place you go to learn what you like. Porn knows more than you do about what you want.

Break a leg to the AMAZING CAST this Saturday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Global Warming Reporting - Research in connection with THE GREAT IMMENSITY

Every winter, it seems the continued existence of snow reinvigorates global warming skeptics, or at least reminds the mainstream media of their existence. The Washington Post felt compelled to preface their coverage of recent findings on the effects of melting polar ice caps with a paragraph disclaimer about that week's weather; USA Today included an opposing POV from the libertarian Cato Institute in their article about 2010 being tied for the hottest year in recorded history.

Does this vocal fringe movement deserve a continued voice? Is journalistic neutrality more important than the scientific truth? Did the recent blizzards make even you doubt global warming a little, and are you familiar with the recency effect? According to Wiki, it is the tendency
"to recall items that were at the end of a list rather than items that were in the middle of a list" and is also compatible with the peak-end rule. Here is a website where you can test your own susceptibility to the effect!

Post by Laura Shapiro