You Better Sit Down
Tales From My Parents' Divorce  /
Photos by Aaron Wesner and T. Charles Erickson

"Brilliantly acted and relentlessly entertaining."

-The New Yorker

"Riveting confessional theater"

"Wryly entertaining... absorbingly candid..."
-Village Voice

For videos and sound clips, check out the show's Investigate Page and Media Page.

Check out our Divorce podcast episodes that feature content from our post-show series at The Flea Theater: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Crafted from interviews the cast conducted with 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 - each playing his or her own parent or parents - 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.

In order to further explore the widespread phenomena of divorce in the modern world, The Civilians partnered with WNYC to continue this conversation with YOU. Visit WNYC's Culture Page to tell your own tales! You can also check out the user-generated comments and contributions of comic strips, a screenplay, audio, photos, and stories that have already been shared!


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

Additional Contributions:
David Barlow

Performed By:
Matthew Maher
Caitlin Miller
Jennifer R. Morris
Robbie Collier Sublett


Tales From My Parents' Divorce received a developmental showing presented by The Civilians at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn on November 13, 2009. It was directed by Anne Kauffman with the following cast: Matthew Maher, Caitlin Miller, Jennifer R. Morris, and Robbie Collier Sublett.

The play received its world premiere at Williamstown Theater Festival August 16-21, 2011 and traveled to ArtsEmerson October 25-30, 2011 with the same cast and Anne Kauffman directing.

The play had its New York premiere at The Flea Theater from April 7 through May 6, 2012. It included a post-show Salon Night Series, for which artists created original performances from audience and online responses. Artists included:

4/14: You Better Sit Down Cast Talk-Back
4/18: The Flea's Resident Company, The Bats
4/21: You Better Sit Down Cast
4/25: Jason Grote (R&D Group writer and staff writer for Smash) and Marisa Michelson
and Michael Schulman (writer for The New Yorker)
4/28: The Bats
5/3: Music Night, featuring Kamara Thomas, Sam Bisbee, and Matt Berger
5/5: The Civilians' Associate Artists

For video of the post-shows, please click HERE!


Reviews from The Flea

  • The New Yorker:"Brilliantly acted and relentlessly entertaining."
  • Village Voice: "wryly entertaining… absorbingly candid"
  • Variety: "riveting confessional theater"
  • Time Out New York: "Critic's Pick... Four Stars"
  • Backstage: "Critic's Pick... uncompromising and funny"
  • New York Post: "...the actors expertly mine the material for all its pathos and humor."
  • Stage and Cinema: "funny, poignant, sharp, melancholy, and always, unblinkingly alert"
  • New York Times: "the truth about these four defunct marriages is laid bare with a simplicity and honesty that makes you reflect on how infrequently many adult children dare to probe into the most momentous passages in their parents’ lives."
  • Theatermania: "engaging and humorous"
  • "We have to talk about this show, but first you better sit down. . .and watch it."
  • Show Business Weekly: "The four cast members go at their tasks with a purity of purpose, allowing the audience fill in the emotional blanks"
  • Theater is Easy: "[the actors] are all a joy to watch, and that’s something their parents can surely be proud of. "
  • Lighting and Sound America: "The Civilians have provided us with a series of alarming and funny characters. See it with someone you love."
  • Flavorpill: "Editor Pick... a fascinating chronicle of relationships and families"

Reviews from ArtsEmerson

Reviews from Williamstown


ArtsEmerson Announcement

World Premiere Announcement


Check out our Divorce podcast episodes that feature content from our post-show series at The Flea Theater: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Click HERE for blog posts about the project!

Check out the content we developed through our partnerships with WNYC and The Huffington Post!

Find out more about the process of creating the show in this video with Jenny Morris and Matt Maher!

Click HERE to watch the live event at WNYC's Greene Space that has excerpts from the show, plus responses from online and the audience!

Click HERE for an animated video created from Episode 1.

Click HERE for the program notes from Williamstown about the topic of divorce and the show!

Click HERE for videos of Salon Nights at The Flea Theater, for which artists created new content from audience and online responses (which includes two original cartoons)!

Listen to Tales from My Parents' Divorce writers and actors, Jenny Morris and Matt Maher on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show!

Conduct your own interviews!
Find out more about The Civilians' methods by clicking HERE.


Check out this animated video crafted from some of the audio!

Here are episodes from the show edited for our partnership with WNYC!

Episode 1: Was There Something You Fought Over?


Episode 2: So... Married Life?


Episode 3: When Did the Troubles Start?


Episode 4: Why Did They Break Up?


Episode 5: How Did You Tell Us?


Episode 6: What Was Your Reaction?


Episode 7: What Were the Terms of the Split?


Episode 8: What Were We Like Afterwards?


Here are some videos of Salon Nights presented at The Flea Theater following performances! All new material was created from audience and online responses, as well as new interviews. For more, check out our Youtube Playlist HERE!

Writtn by our R&D Artist Jason Grote, and written and performed by Marisa Michelson


Written and performed by The Bats


Written by Michael Schulman


And here's an animated comic inspired by the show!

Dave Brown, art
Jeff Ronan, copy
Will Turner, music
Chris Massimine, concept and design


For more videos, visit our Youtube HERE or The Great Immensity's Vimeo HERE!