Photos by Leslie Lyons

An inventive and provocative exploration of the 21st-century condition.
— The London Times

Written and directed by Steven Cosson with songs by Michael Friedman, 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.


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

Music & Lyrics by:
Michael Friedman

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


(I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH received its U.S. Premiere by The Civilians at 59E59 Theaters, New York City, January 19, 2006. It was directed by Steven Cosson, with the following cast: Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Matt Dellapina, Brad Heberlee, Daoud Heidami, Caitlin Miller, Jennifer R. Morris, and Andy Boronson.

The play subsequently received its London Premiere by The Civilians at Soho Theatre, September 6, 2006. An earlier version of the play opened in September 2004 and was produced by The Civilians and presented by Performance Space 122.

The initial development of the play was supported by a residency at The Public Theater, George C. Wolfe Artistic Director. An earlier version of the play opened in September 2004 and was produced by The Civilians and presented by Performance Space 122. Development of this final version was provided with the assistance of the Sundance Institute, Philip Himberg Artistic Director, and was premiered by The Civilians in New York City, February, 2006.


Soho Theatre
London, UK. September 5 – 23, 2006

  • The Evening Standard: "Critics Choice...a funny, searching, at times plaintive look at the dangerous blurring of fact and myth in American culture."
  • The Evening Standard: "Four Stars...quirkily clever, edifyingly fun and, in all, rather brilliant"
  • Metro: "a smart, sassy piece of cabaret"
  • The Times: "an inventive and provocative exploration of the 21st-century condition"

Assembly RoomsEdinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh, UK. August 4 – 28, 2006

  • Spiked: "a cute cabaret that exposes the everyday consequences of distrust and anxiety"
  • Time Out London: "Four Stars...The actors are hugely talented and sing sweetly..."
  • The Times of London:"Four Stars...a script as sharp as a tack, clever songs, five terrific singer/performers..."
  • Daily Telegraph: "...it is far funnier than its existential theme suggests..."
  • Scotland on Sunday: "often as poignant as it is amusing...a musical like no other"
  • Theatre Guide London: "a completely new style of theatre — Verbatim Cabaret"
  • The Scotsman: "Told cabaret-style, the re-enacted interviews are interspersed with witty, beautifully played songs"
  • The Stage: "Must See...polish and professionalism raise it far above usual fringe standards..."
  • The Independent: "vox pop interviews that morph into peculiarly catchy songs"
  • Metro: "Four Stars...a thought-provoking and funny alternative cabaret that delights in letting the cat out of the bag"
  • Three Weeks: "Four Stars...Moving, thought provoking, and sometimes hilariously silly..."
  • The Guardian: "the Civilians co-mingle docudrama with cabaret, spinning their interviewees' responses into improbable, inquisitive song-and-soliloquy revues"
  • The Scotsman: "Five Stars...Above all, it's a piece that bristles with ideas."
  • The List: "Four Stars...a reassuring moment where we realise that we are very far from alone"
  • Onstage Scotland: "the show is elevated above verbatim-for-laughs by its glorious songs"
  • The Guardian: "A record number of New York acts are appearing at this year's Fringe"
  • The List: "New York's acclaimed Civilians present alternative cabaret based on verbatim conversations about the war in Iraq"
  • Three Weeks: ""(I Am) Nobody's Lunch is the only epistemological cabaret-theatre show in the entire world"
  • The Sunday Times: "Look out for the touching ballad about the abandonment of civil liberties."

American Repertory Theatre
Cambridge, MA. April 25 – 30, 2006

  • Boston Herald: "a talented troupe that combines the comic timing of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch with impressive vocals and sleek choreography."
  • The Boston Globe: "a vibrant sextet of satirists who charge their way into our contemporary Tower of Babel"
  • The Boston Globe: "entertaining mix of hilarious storytelling and serious thought"

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Philadelphia, PA. April 19 – 23, 2006

59 East 59th Street Theatres
New York, NY. January 19 – February 5, 2006

  • The New York Times: "a five-year-old collective that has been attracting notice with its inventive and unexpected approach to docudrama"
  • The New York Times: "a funny, searching, at times plaintive look at the dangerous blurring of fact and myth in American culture"
  • Time Out New York: "an elegant balance of intellectual inquisitiveness, political comment and sly entertainment"

New York, NY. September 24 – October 17, 2006



Song of Progressive Disenchantment