Devised theater pros The Civilians return to Duke

Monday, January 9, 2017

With any luck, you saw one of the sold-out performance of their groundbreaking show The Undertaking when the Obie-award-winning theater company The Civilians was on campus in September, 2016. This month, Duke students have the chance to observe The Civilians starting the devised theater process from scratch, and some students will get first-hand experience by participating in a special devised theater workshop on January 21 (scroll down for details.)

The Brooklyn-based investigative theater company returns January 19-26 for the second installment of the three-part residency with Duke Performances with support from Theater Studies and the Center For Documentary Studies. Their latest challenge investigates the trend towards privatization of public education and the controversies surrounding charter schools.  While in residence at Duke with playwright Ethan Lipton, the company will interview students, educators, parents, and administrators at both charter schools and public schools, as well as education policy experts, activists, and organizers. With The Civilians’ signature approach, these personal interviews transform into the jumping-off place for improvisation, movement work, songwriting, and (eventually) a scripted show.   

The Duke residency will culminate in the first public presentation of this material on Saturday January 28th at 8pm in Reynolds Theater. The weekend before, on Saturday, January 21 from 10:00a to 1:00p in the Bryan Center rehearsal studio, the company’s artistic director Steve Cosson, will lead ten Duke students in a special (and free) devised theater workshop.  Lunch will be provided and a few spots are still available.  Email to register for a spot.   Photo from The Undertaking by Richard Termine