Monday, October 17, 2011

Unity Within Diversity - R&D Group 2011-12!

Post by Annah Feinberg, R&D Group Coordinator 

What excites me most about this year’s crop of investigative theater projects being cultivated in the Civilians’ R&D writers group are the threads that link the wide range of projects together. During our first meeting of the year this past Monday, topics of conversation ranged between Stalin’s love of tractor musicals, Radical Faeries in Tennessee, historic accuracy, the Landmark Forum, suicide girls, nail polish, crime, Internet addiction, Occupy Wall Street, high school prom, and many more. While these all seem to come from vastly different corners of our contemporary consciousness, they are all strung together by projects that are questioning social perception of sanity and what has changed or is changing in our world that has lead or is leading to these changes in sociological awareness.

The R&D group is an incubator for the bouncing of ideas among investigative theater artist; it is a collective creative exploration of investigation. The artists range from first time playwrights who are well versed in Civilians methodology to seasoned playwrights in search of a new way of working and connecting to the world around them. By creating a conversation around these new projects, we hope to spark conversation within the projects; ideas of the artists in the group will inform and fertilize the projects of the other artists in the group.

I’m thrilled to find the unity within the diversity of projects being created this year, both artistically and tactically. Perhaps one writer will discover a new avenue for research and investigation that will open up a creative door for another. Perhaps one writer’s discoveries about the Landmark Forum will influence another’s project about the American Rehabilitation System, which will influence another’s project about Internet addition, and so on. The potential artistic links in this year’s group seem infinite, and I cannot wait to watch them connect.

In Monday’s meeting, Civilians Artistic Director Steve Cosson said something that really stuck with me: He remarked that partaking in the investigative process, and unlocking an underexplored corner of society “makes the world bigger”. I hope that’s what we will do this year in the R&D group—make the world bigger, one meeting at a time. 

For more info about the artists (pictured above) or their projects, click HERE!

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