Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play

Check out the blog post on Woolly Mammoth's blog about Mr. Burns, a post-electric play discussing our role in the show's development. Here's an excerpt:
In 2008, a group of Civilians Associate Artists set out to explore the notion of a post-apocalyptic Simpsons narrative. Playwright Anne Washburn, director Steve Cosson, and six actors got together for a one week workshop focused on the topic. They did many different kinds of improvisation exercises, one of which was focused on recreating theCape Feare episode of The Simpsons from memory (and as it turns out, our Associate Artist Matt Maher was incredibly good at this). Anne Washburn then took her notes and audio recordings and started writing what is now Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. The Act 1 recollection of the Simpsons episode is pulled almost verbatim from these exercises. The rest of Act I, and Acts II and III were created by Anne, although very much inspired by the energy and capacity of the original actors and by her discussions with Steve. The characters share first names –and some share a few characteristics—with the actors in the original workshop. We’ll leave you to find out who is who, and to guess which qualities match up with their real-life counterparts!
For the whole post, click HERE!

The show is starting it's first day of tech today, with the first performance on May 28. This new show by Anne Washburn with music by Michael Friedman directed by Steve Cosson is not to be missed - get tickets HERE!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is your favorite song about death?

We're coming up on our next Let Me Ascertain You cabaret at Joe's Pub, and this one is focused on the surprising, macabre, and unexpectedly funny stories related to perspectives on and experiences with death and the death industry. We've talked to funeral directors, morticians, a Yogi, and lots more - we hope you'll join us to hear their incredible stories and thoughts!

Last week, we got some great responses about your favorite death scenes in movies. This week, we want to know:

What is your favorite song about death?

And be sure to join us on Friday for the show - it's going to be great!

Get tickets HERE!

And here's what we've come up with:

Via a comment below: "Hades" from The Frogs

Via comments below:  "Erlkonig" by Franz Schubert (requested twice!)

Via a comment below: Johnny Cash's cover of Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat"

Via a comment below: "My Death" by Jacques Brel, covered by David Bowie

 Via Facebook: "An Artist's Song" by Ari Picker for his band Lost in the Trees

 Via Facebook: Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (This is the first part of the album)

Via a comment below: "Saint James Infirmary" - Lily Tomlin/All Nurse Orchestra Version

Via a comment below: "Red River Valley" sung by Marty Robbins

Via a comment below: "Poor Jud is Dead" from Oklahoma
 Via a comment below: Verdi's Requiem

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What is your favorite death scene in a movie?

We've been conducting a lot of different interviews for our upcoming cabaret at Joe's Pub focusing on unusual and unexpected stories about death and the death industry. Our artists have talked to a funeral director, a Yogi, morticians, doctors, and more to examine what can be tangible about this other-worldly topic. While we're working, we want to hear from you!

 What is your favorite death scene in a movie or play? 

Leave us a comment or link to a scene; we've got some of our favorites below!


(Spoiler alert)


Contributed via Facebook:


 Contributed below in a comment:


  Get tickets to the cabaret on May 18th HERE!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Modern Society

How do we deal with the pressures of modern society? This week's episode, with some of our favorite interviews not included in our shows, looks at interviews focused on the ways we try to escape, including running away, drugs, suicide, and hot nude yoga. Billy Eugene Jones plays a former mole person who lived in the New York subway tunnels in the 1980's; Dan Domingues performs an interview with the founder of hot nude yoga; Daoud Heidami plays a New Jersey State Trooper; and Michael Esper sings "Lost Horizon" by Michael Friedman from our play Gone Missing.


Friday, May 4, 2012

YOU BETTER SIT DOWN: Salon Night Video

Our critically-acclaimed show You Better Sit Down: Tales From My Parents’ Divorce is entering its final weekend of performances at the Flea. Get tickets HERE if you don't have them yet!

Take a look at some of the innovative ancillary programming we’ve been pairing with the work!

Here, New Yorker scribe Michael Schulman performs his glamorous grandmother Doris, shedding light on divorce in an earlier generation:

And watch Marisa Michelson sing an original song that she and our R&D Artist Jason Grote wrote about the objects that are lost at sea in the raging storms of the heart:

And for those of you who are looking for blue-skies in your love life, follow this courting advice:

This cartoon and the accompanying song are both original creations inspired by the show!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This Beautiful City: The Podcast Episode

Our artists spent time in Colorado Springs (home to many national Evangelical Organizations, including Focus on the Family and New Life Church) investigating the shifting lines between church and state, viewing the city as a microcosm for many issues still present in America. The verbatim interviews were used in our play, This Beautiful City. You are about to hear some of our favorite interviews that didn't make it into the play: Emily Ackerman playing an elderly pro-life protester, Colleen Werthmann playing an Anabaptist/thespian/activist, and Matt Dellapina as a Evangelical cadet. This episode also features a song from the show by Michael Friedman "End Times" with lyrics crafted from interviews, performed by Alison Weller.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Let Me Ascertain You: Death

We're so happy to announce that our next cabaret at Joe's Pub is on May 18 - Let Me Ascertain You: Death. Our artists entered some surprising and dark territory and have come back to share their enlightening tales of death, murder, grief, and insights into forensic anthropology. Sound fun? They promise it will be. Hear stories from the Body Farm in Knoxville Tennessee, a facility for study of the decomposition of human bodies and research site for criminal investigations. We're investigating the thought-provoking, unexpected and at times humorous personal stories of encounters with death. And we want to hear from you, too!

Have you had an unusual encounter with the industry of death? 

Tell us your story in the comments, or send an email to liaison@thecivilians.org. Or do you know someone who has had a surprising death-related experience? - perhaps someone who works with death in some capacity, like a funeral home director or mortician? Send us their contact info and we'll get in touch with them for an interview!

And get your tickets for the performance HERE!