|The 2013-2014 R&D Group|
The time has once again come for The Civilians’ R & D Group Reading Series. This is our first year opening all of our presentations to the public, and I am very excited to see the work our artists have been doing culminate into “something” in front of an audience. In October, I wrote on the blog that all of our pieces had common thread of art and politics. It’s very interesting to look back on that jumping off point and see the diversity of style and content that the R & Der’s explored this year. All of the presentations take place in the Great Room at 138 S. Oxford Street in Brooklyn. They’re free and open to the public, so we hope to see you there.
Performance artist Jeanine Oleson is starting the series off with a presentation of performative material she has been developing with us that ties in with her New Museum residency. Over the year we’ve heard excerpts of the text she’s been working with, seen sketches of the set, which are integral to the performance of her piece, and learned about a new instrument that Jeanine is developing specifically for the project. Director Melissa Crespo is helping her shape her piece for our presentation format. Join us for HEAR, HERE on Wednesday, May 21, at 5:30 P.M. And, catch the rest of Jeanine’s work at the New Museum in the coming weeks.
Sean Cunningham has ended up writing farce about an American businessman hiking to Machu Picchu in the company of a Peruvian businessman trying to convince him to take the alcohol pisco back with him to the States. With incisive wit, and characters hauling a piano up a mountain, Sean delves into the delicate personal and economic relationships of his characters and larger American (Southern and Northern) society. THE MACHU PICCHU PLAY, directed by Michael Leibenluft, is happening Thursday, May 22, at 7:30 PM.
Riti Sachdeva is writing what turns out to be our only piece derived almost entirely from interviews. Her piece expertly weaves dynamic source material from interviews with people in communities of color suffering from mental illness, family members with relatives who are dealing with mentally ill relatives, and an expert who provides a fascinating perspective on the way intergenerational instances of trauma impact the mental health of these traumatized communities. This presentation is also directed by Michael Leibenluft. We’re presenting LOVE IN A TIME OF MANIC DEPRESSION on Wednesday May 28th at 8 PM.
In FAIRLY TRACEABLE, Mary Kathryn Nagle uses interviews, archived media, and legal transcripts as source material to create a fictional narrative about current legislation regarding climate change. The result is a fresh point of view on a familiar Civilians theme. Former R & Der and frequent Civilians collaborator Mia Rovegno returns to direct this piece, which will be presented on Thursday, May 29th at 7 PM.
Finally, Juliana Francis Kelly and Tony Torn will be presenting their piece THE REENACTORS on May 30th at 2 PM. THE REENACTORS was a unique project for the R & D Group this year, in that Juliana and Tony had a full draft when they started in September (often our writers come start writing projects when their time in R & D begins, or are only in the early stages). The team has used their time in R & D to focus the narrative with the dramaturgical support of the group.
Our other R & D artists, Tommy Smith and Teddy Bergman, Robbie Sublett, and Maggie-Kate Coleman, Erato A. Kremmyda and Sam Pinkleton, also had a productive time in the group this year. Each of their projects, NFL, MARIE IN TOMORROWLAND, and EAST 4TH, respectively, used the time and dramaturgical support of the group to further their investigations and make strides on their projects, clarifying the direction they hope to take the work. The nature of the R & D process means that the development of some projects doesn’t fit into The Civilians season calendar and presentation schedule. We invite you to keep an eye on these projects in future as the artists continue their investigations.
As we come to the close of a productive and fruitful R & D season, we are also keeping our eye on next year. After coming to see the work our artists have been doing over the last 9 months, you can check out our application for next year on The Civilians website, due June 1.