MAIN  /
Photos by Dana Maxon, Denise Applewhite and students

Brooklyn High School of the Arts Performance

We are in our second year at Brooklyn High School of the Arts, where the drama class conducts interviews, works with the social studies class to do research, and creates a brand new play using the investigative method. Led by Civilians Associate Artist Marsha Stephanie Blake, their investigation centers around the question, Why do you vote? They performed their new play for the community on December 3 and 4.

Check out a song that Michael Friedman wrote for the play, performed by our students!

For videos from last year's Brooklyn High School of the Arts performance about the 1960's, click HERE!

The Civilians’ residency here was such a fantastic experience for me. No other experience at Sarah Lawrence has so expanded my conception of what theatre could be.
— Audrey Moyce, Sarah Lawrence student

Welcome to The Civilians’ Education page. This section of our site is dedicated to students and professors interested in our work. Here you can learn about producing a Civilians play at your school, find resources that will be helpful if you are studying our work, and find out how you can bring The Civilians to your school for workshops and residencies.

It is our great hope that we can engage your campus with our socially and culturally relevant work. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line.

Conduct your own interviews and create your own performance about the OCCUPY movement! Find out how you can be part of our international grassroots movement HERE!

This year, our Artistic Intern Adam Odsess-Rubin also presented a new play, DREAMers as part of the Theater of the New City Reading Series! He conducted interviews about immigration, crafted his own play, and performed it on December 10.

SHOWS  /

Civilians shows are accessible, enjoyable, and adaptable to almost any theater group's needs. Because the plays incorporate the stories of many different people, cast size can range from 3 to 30 and more depending on your resources and creative vision. In this section, you can find information about each show, and suggestions for how to use our scripts at your school.

We encourage you to adapt most of the scripts to suit your community, rather than simply producing our shows as written. For these shows, we've created toolkits that will give you insight into our process, and information on how you can ask your own questions, investigate, and create your own material to incorporate into your production.

If you are interested in performing a Civilians show, you must first acquire the rights. We've explained it all HERE.

Shows:
Canard, Canard, Goose
(I Am) Nobody's Lunch
Gone Missing
This Beautiful City
Tales from My Parents’ Divorce
Paris Commune
In The Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards

CANARD, CANARD, GOOSE  /

Written by: Steven Cosson from interviews, improvisations, writings, and other contributions by the company

Music & Lyrics by: Michael Friedman

Additional text by: Anne Washburn

Created by The Company: Damian Baldet, Aysan Celik, Aimee Guillot, Jennifer R. Morris, Charlie Schroeder, Brian Sgambati, Colleen Werthmann

The Civilians leave New York City to pursue a story about a Hollywood movie and a lost flock of carelessly imprinted geese. Though they start off in search of a story about an evil corporation and the birds that were allegedly left behind, what results is a wild goose chase around Long Lake in search for answers. An eclectic show about disorientation, misplaced empathy, and coming home.

Cast Breakdown: 4 females, 3 males (7-15 actors possible: 3-8 females, 2-7 males)

Script: Available from Playscripts, Inc..

Licensing: If you'd like to produce Canard, Canard, Goose, you'll need to acquire the rights. Licensing is handled by Playscripts, Inc.

More Info: Find out more, including production history, about the original creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

(I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH  /

Written by: Steven Cosson from interviews written by the Company*

Music & Lyrics by: Michael Friedman

*including: Andy Boroson, Daoud Heidami, Christina Kirk, Alix Lambert, Matthew Maher, Caitlin Miller, KJ Sanchez

Nobody’s Lunch is a dark ride through the landscape of American public culture. This latest creation from the Obie-winning company The Civilians asks the thorny question—how do we know what we know when everyone in power seems to be lying?

Is it possible to know what’s really going on in the world when information is manipulated to serve particular interests? Does anyone really care? Delving into the politics of information, the company—in its singular signature style—conducted extensive interviews with subjects ranging 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 eccentric cast of characters, all taken from real life.

Download the toolkit

Cast Breakdown: 3 females, 5 males (5-15 actors possible: 2-7 females, 3-8 males)

Script: Available from Playscripts, Inc.. You can download a free excerpt.

Licensing: If you'd like to produce Nobody’s Lunch, you'll need to acquire the rights. Licensing is handled by Playscripts, Inc.

More Info: Find out more, including production history, about the original creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

GONE MISSING  /

Written by: Steven Cosson from interviews by the Company

Music & Lyrics by: Michael Friedman

Additional text by: Peter Morris

Created by The Company: Damian Baldet, Trey Lyford, Jennifer R. Morris, Brian Sgambati, Alison Weller, and Colleen Werthman

Additional interviews conducted by: Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Matthew Francis, Winter Miller & Charlie Schroeder

Additional workshop participants: Quincy Bernstine, Isaac Butler, Matthew Francis, Jonathan Spector, & Winter Miller

Devised by The Civilians from interviews with real-life New Yorkers, Gone Missing is a wry and whimsical documentary musical about things that go missing—keys, personal identification, a Gucci pump... or one's mind. The show is a collection of very personal accounts of things lost and found, creating a unique tapestry of the ways in which we deal with and relate to loss in our lives.

Download the toolkit

Cast Breakdown: 3 men, 3 women (flexible casting): 6 total

Script: Available from Dramatists Play Service. You can download a free excerpt.

Licensing: If you'd like to produce Gone Missing, you'll need to acquire the rights. Licensing is handled by Dramatists Play Service

More Info: Find out more, including production history, about the original creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY  /

Written by: Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis

Music & Lyrics by: Michael Friedman

Interviews conducted by: Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, Stephen Plunkett, Alison Weller, and the authors

This Beautiful City is a play with music, created from interviews with actual persons, that explores the Evangelical movement and its unofficial U.S. capital. Because of the presence of several national Evangelical headquarters, the influential megachurch New Life (formerly led by Ted Haggard), and numerous and diverse churches, questions surrounding religion and civic concerns are brought to the foreground of everyday life in this city. The Civilians’ project looks at Colorado Springs as a microcosm of issues facing the country as a whole—the shifting line between church and state, changing ideas about the nature of Christianity, and how different beliefs can either coexist or conflict within a community.

Download the toolkit

Cast Breakdown: 3 men, 3 women (doubling, flexible casting): 6 total

Script: This Beautiful City is available from Dramatists Play Service. You can download a free excerpt.

Licensing: If you'd like to produce This Beautiful City, you'll need to acquire the rights. Licensing is handled by Dramatists Play Service

More Info: Find out more about This Beautiful City, including production history, about the creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

TALES FROM MY PARENTS’ DIVORCE  /

Written by: Anne Kauffman, Matthew Maher, Caitlin Miller, Jennifer R. Morris, Janice Paran & Robbie Collier Sublett

Additional Contributions: David Barlow

Crafted from interviews between the cast and their own parents, Tales from My Parents’ Divorce is a heartbreaking and hilarious account of the parents’ marriages and their subsequent divorces. These delicate parent-child conversations have yielded unique insights into falling in love, falling out of love, and rebuilding a life after the complex experience of dividing a family.

The show explores each couple’s first meeting, the ups and downs of their marriage, their split, and the surprising perspectives on life after divorce. In these alternately funny, devastating and revelatory performances, the four actors are the conduits of their parents’ stories and, inevitably though sometimes inadvertently, also of their own experiences of family division. This provocative show reveals the stories behind the statistics of one of the most prominent social phenomena of our time.

The Civilians has also partnered with WNYC, creating a number of web episodes of related material. Visit the show page for more info.

Download the toolkit

Cast Breakdown:

Script: The full script for Tales from My Parents’ hasn't been published yet. You can download a free excerpt, or email us for more info.

Licensing: If you'd like to produce Tales from My Parents’ Divorce, you'll need to acquire the rights. Please email us.

More Info: Find out more about Tales from My Parents Divorce, including production history, about the creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

PARIS COMMUNE  /

Created by: Steven Cosson & Michael Friedman

In 1871, working class Parisians overthrew the French government, declared Paris autonomous and launched an attempt to radically reinvent society. In this musical play, The Civilians brings this explosive event to life. Paris Commune employs a bold theatrical form to tell the story of this first socialist revolution in Europe. Paris Commune uses found texts and original songs from the time period to tell the story of this extraordinary event in which the Parisian community radically reimagined its entire society.

Cast Breakdown:

Script: Paris Commune is available as part of our Anthology from Playscripts, Inc..

Licensing: If you'd like to produce Paris Commune, you'll need to acquire the rights. Please email us.

More Info: Find out more about Paris Commune, including production history, about the creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

IN THE FOOTPRINT  /

Written by: Steven Cosson

Co-written by: Jocelyn Clarke

Music & lyrics by: Michael Friedman

In the Footprint, a play with music, tells the story of Brooklyn’s largest development project in history. The play examines the conflicts that erupted in the case of Atlantic Yards through to their current resolution in an attempt to discover how the fate of the city is decided in present-day New York and what can be learned from this ongoing saga of politics, money, and the places we call home. The play is constructed from interviews with real life players in this Brooklyn epic, including local residents, business owners, Daniel Goldstein, political leaders such as Letitia James and Marty Markowitz, activists, union members, and community leaders.

Cast Breakdown:

Script: The full script for In the Footprint hasn't been published yet. You can download a free excerpt, or email us for more info.

Licensing: If you'd like to produce In the Footprint, you'll need to acquire the rights. Please email us.

More Info: Find out more about In the Footprint, including production history, about the creative team, and critical reception.

Return to the top

LICENSING  /

If you'd like to perform a Civilians play, you'll need to acquire the rights. Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts, Inc. handle the licensing for most of our shows:

Canard, Canard, Goose
(I Am) Nobody’s Lunch
Gone Missing
This Beautiful City
Tales From My Parents’ Divorce*
Paris Commune*
In The Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards*

*These shows are not yet available. If you're interested performing one of them, please contact liaison@thecivilians.org for more information.