The Civilians: Nobody's Lunch

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Illustration by illustration by Josh Neufeld (

We're headed to the new incarnation of Nobody's Lunch by The Civilians in a few days. I wrote about one of the versions of the show in October 2004 if you want to read more.

For the culture bloggers out there, there is a discount if you know the secret password. E-mail me with a link to your blog if you're interested.

The Civilians Announces Off-Broadway Transfer
Limited Engagement! Jan. 19 - Feb 5 at 59 East 59th Street Theatre

Obie Award-winning theatre company The Civilians will present a limited-run Off-Broadway engagement of its newest show, (I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH, beginning January 19th at 59 East 59th Street Theatre. Written and directed by Steven Cosson, the show features eight original songs by Michael Friedman (“25 New Yorkers who will make their mark in 2005” Time Out NY). The four-year old company— having established a national and international reputation on tour— will follow this New York engagement with seven weeks of touring to prominent performing arts centers including Philadelphia's Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Cambridge's American Repertory Theatre. Presented on an Off-Broadway contract, opening night is scheduled for January 21st.

(I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH is an eccentric evening of cabaret-theater combining original music and text from interviews. This lively show about the politics of information attempts to answer the slippery question, “How do we know what we know?" Set in the frame of post 9/11 anxiety, misleading intelligence, government secrecy and embedded media, this question leads the company through the murky present state of American culture. The resulting show exploits The Civilians’ singular signature style, taking material from interviews with actual persons and transforming these conversations into a theatrical, musical event.

(I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH is a dramatically revised version of the show presented at PS122 in September 2004. Reviews from that production heralded the show, saying that "the characters are brought to life by the protean cast, who expose both cultural difference and real lunacy without making judgments." (The New Yorker) and calling The Civilians “downtown's peerless purveyors of comic docu-theater” (Time Out New York). The company has extensively revised the piece to respond to recent changes in the American political landscape. Work on the new version culminated in a 2-week workshop with the Sundance Theatre Lab at White Oak in December 2005. The new show, whose full title is (I am) Nobody's Lunch (A cabaret about how we know what we know when nobody knows if everyone else is lying and when someone or something wants to have you for lunch), contains mostly new text and two entirely new songs.

Interview subjects range from a policymaker at Homeland Security on the verge of a nervous breakdown to a plucky extraterrestrial (channeled by an equally funny human); from every Jessica Lynch in the phone book (who was willing to talk) to soldiers guarding the New York subway with unloaded weapons. Turning these interviews into a mercurial cabaret-play, a versatile cast inhabits an eclectic cast of characters, all taken from real life. Some subjects who provided source material for the original version have been re-interviewed and are joined by new characters ranging from a 10 year old girl (asked how one knows what is real and what is imaginary) to a 90 year old former librarian (who provides a unique viewpoint on the modern media).

The new cast includes Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Matt Dellapina, Brad Heberlee, Daoud Heidami, Caitlin Miller and Jennifer R. Morris with Andy Boroson accompanying on piano. Set designer Andromache Chalfant, costumes Sarah Beers, lighting Marcus Doshi, sound Shane Rettig. Choreography by Karinne Keithley.

1 Comment

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This page contains a single entry by published on January 12, 2006 4:18 PM.

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