The Civilians (Steve Cosson, Artistic Director), the award-winning New York-based theatre company known for projects investigating real-life topics, announces the members of its 2011-2012 R&D writer's group, comprised of theater artists interested in creating investigative theater. The group's emerging and established artists were selected from over one hundred applicants. Participating writers this year will include Jackie Sibblies Drury, Jason Grote, Jon Kern, Alix Lambert, Brandon Miller, Mia Rovegno, and Heidi Schreck
The group will meet biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist will develop a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a pre-selected subject chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research or other experimental methods of inquiry. The artists will share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work with the group, as well as Artistic Director Steve Cosson, R&D Coordinator Annah Feinberg, and The Civilians' multidisciplinary group of Associate Artists. The process will culminate in a public presentation in May of 2012. This is the second season of The Civilians' R&D Program, which will host a New Group of artists each year. The selection process for the next group will begin in spring of 2012.
Founded in 2001 by Steven Cosson, The Civilians has created twelve original works that have been produced Off Broadway and in over 40 cities nationally and internationally, at theaters such as The Public Theater, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse, A.R.T., HBO's US Comedy Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, London's Soho Theatre, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Fringe First Award, 2006). The company's recent work, This Beautiful City enjoyed a critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theater in 2009 receiving Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations. Gone Missing ran for seven months at Off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theater and was cited by The New York Times as one of the "10 Best Plays of 2007." The Civilians received an Obie in 2004 in recognition of its accomplishments in its first two seasons of work.
The Civilians is just presented the world premiere of You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce at Williamstown Theatre Festival continues to support the development of The Great Immensity, a new play with music about the environment and the future of the planet which will have its world premiere at Kansas City Rep this February.
For more information, visit www.thecivilians.org.
JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation ... will have its world premiere at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater in 2012. Her work has been featured in Victory Gardens' 2010 Ignition Festival as well as a new work festival at The Magic Theatre. She is a graduate oF Brown's MFA playwriting program, where she received the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting. Jackie is a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop playwriting fellow and a participant in a series of workshops creating performance-based collaborations between artists in New York and Tehran. This summer she was in residence at the MacDowell Colony and participated in The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
R&D Project: The Archive Project, exploring the possibility, utility, and artistry of documenting one's own life.
Jason Grote is a playwright and television writer based in Brooklyn. His plays include 1001, Civilization (all you can eat), Maria/Stuart, Hamilton Township, Darwin's Challenge, Safe in Heaven Dead, Box Americana, and This Storm Is What We Call Progress. He is a staff writer for the NBC/Dreamworks show Smash, produced by Steven Spielberg, Theresa Rebeck, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, premiering in January 2012. Current projects include a a commission from ACT/Seattle about Stalin and Shostakovich and a musical adaptation of1001 with composer Marisa Michelson. His work has been produced and developed at The Museum of Modern Art, The Sundance Theater Lab, Playwrights Horizons, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Page 73, Ensemble Studio Theater, Voices of Change - Festival for New American Plays (Theater Bielefeld, Germany), Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, The Foundry, Mass MoCA, The Luminato Festival, Soho Rep, The Lark, The Glej Theater (Slovenia), Salvage Vanguard, HERE, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Collaboraction, Theater @ Boston Court, and elsewhere. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and was the 2006 P73 Playwriting Fellow. His plays have been published by Samuel French and Playscripts Inc., and in The Back Stage Book of New American Short Plays 2005 (edited by Craig Lucas), and his comics debut will take place in the upcoming Significant Objects anthology from Fantagraphics, edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. He occasionally blogs at Hilobrow.com, voted one of Time magazine's top blogs of 2010.
R&D Project: An investigation of Stalin and Shostakovich.
Jon Kern's full-length works include Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them, Do Not Disturb: a hotel experience, Telefonesis: The Art of Mental Murder, and We in Silence Hear a Whisper. His short plays have been performed at Ensemble Studio Theater, The Brick, The Flea, City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival, and in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Graduate: University of Chicago (BA), Columbia University (MFA). Member: the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, The Old Vic New Voices Network, and Ars Nova Play Group. Alumnus: EST/Youngblood. Awards & Grants: 2010-2011 Van Lier Fellowship in Playwriting from New Dramatists, 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Commission, 2010 Heideman Award finalist, 2010-2011 travel grant from the Netherlands-America Foundation.
R&D Project: An investigation into how people confront destructive compulsive behavior, specifically internet addiction, and work to accept that as part of their identity as they move forward. Or, using a completely different set of words, how to get to know yourself in an age of anonymity.
ALIX LAMBERT's feature length documentary "The Mark of Cain" was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as produce 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, and The LA Weekly, among others, and is an editor at large for the literary journal OPEN CITY. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: "A Rich Find" (for which she won a WGA award) and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cinicinnati. As an artist Lambert has exhibited her work to international critical acclaim, showing in The Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Georges Pompidou Center, and the Kwangju Biennnale, to name a few. Her monograph: MASTERING THE MELON is available through D.A.P. Her book THE SILENCING is available through Perceval Press. Her book RUSSIAN PRISON TATTOOS is available through Schiffer Publishing, and her book CRIME is available through Fuel Publishing. CRIME, USA which she conceived and directed was recently staged at Joe's Pub. Lambert is an associate artist with the Obie award winning theater group The Civilians. She is currently in production on two feature length documentaries: He/She/He (about gender identity in Albania and Samoa) and Mentor (about teen suicide and bullying at Mentor High in Mentor Ohio). She just completed, in collaboration with David McMahon, a feature length documentary: Bayou Blue (about serial killer Ronald Dominique in Louisiana). She recently received an NEA consortium grant in order to produce 2 new works that will be presented at RealArtWays in Hartford Connecticut.
R&D Project: Return from Mars, inspired by a true-life crime mystery set in Brooklyn. Andre Carmichael is haunted by the voice and image of a little girl who he has never met. For health reasons he seeks out his biological mother after having spent most of his youth in foster care, and in so doing he learns the truth about his life.