Wednesday, May 22, 2013

R&D Group Reading Series and Public Presentation

Our R&D Coordinator EllaRose Chary shares her experiences working with our R&D Group and gives details about their current Reading Series and public presentation that will take place next Wednesday May 29th at 7:30pm in The Great Room at 138 S. Oxford St. in Ft. Greene Brooklyn. 

Last week we kicked off our R and D Group Reading Series with presentations of work by Emily Ackerman (Working Title: “Forgiveness & Revenge” directed by David Mendizábal) and Carly Mensch (“The Untitled Raymond Project directed by Mei Ann Teo). We’ll continue with the series through the summer, with presentations of work by Mia Rovegno (AFFLICTED directed by Gina Rattan), Matt Dellapina (directed by Snehal Desai), and César Alvarez (THE UNIVERSE IS A SMALL HAT directed by guest director Sarah Benson). The pieces presented in the reading series are in various states of development. The series is an opportunity for the writers to see their work – wherever it’s at at this point – up on its feet with actors. Most of the actors come from The Civilians’ core of Associate Artists, who are familiar with the process of developing work created with the investigative method. These presentations are, in the words of Artistic Director Steve Cosson, a “culminating something,” and a chance for the writers to assess their project with the help of directors and other artists.

If you need a refresher, read all about our R&D artists here or check out my blogpost about them from November.

One of the most fascinating parts of being R and D Group Coordinator is watching these our artists’ projects grow from a blurb on an application into a piece of theater up on its feet. There are so many things you learn about a piece from working on it with a director and actors. In Emily Ackerman’s reading on Wednesday, the physical presence of having two characters talking about separate ideas and occupying two clearly delineated spaces showed how the different perspectives in the piece are beginning to layer with each other. Likewise, when Carly Mensch started out with her research, she wasn’t sure whether or not to include a certain character. For this presentation, she did include that character, and that choice illuminated elements of the storytelling that had not been there in previous drafts. I can’t wait to see what comes out of the other writers’ pieces as they get to work with their directors and actors in the coming weeks.

Because of the nature of the projects and because many of the writers have come to the R and D Group to learn about the Civilians’ unique method for approaching theater, the reading series presentations are often closed to the public. However, over the course of this year, a number of people have asked me if there would be an opportunity to see work from the group and to learn about the process. In response to this interest, we have decided to add a public event to the reading series schedule – An Evening with The Civilians R and D Group

This public presentation will take place next Wednesday May 29th at 7:30 pm in The Great Room at 138 S. Oxford St.  in Brooklyn. It’s open to the public and we hope that if you’re interested in learning more about the R and D Group, you’ll join us (and if you’re not already interested, check out these amazing blog posts from the members, and you will become interested!). It’s going to be a fun and informal evening for the group members to share their work and their process. Space is limited so please RSVP to

To learn more about the event, check it out on Facebook. To learn more about the projects visit the R&D posts on the blog here. 

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