Investigative theatre company The Civilians has announced three nights of curated live performance as part of its 2023 spring residency at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. The multidisciplinary performances will be held March 13, April 17, and Mary 15.
The Civilians' mission is to create and develop theatre that interrogates lived experiences. In its more than 20-year history, the theatre company has served as the crucible for shows such as the Broadway play Lucas Hnath’s Dana H., Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty, and shows featuring the work of composer Michael Friedman (Gone Missing, Pretty Filthy, Paris Commune).
As the Greene Space's 2023 Spring Artist-in-Residence, it will kick off its three nights of curated live performance with Make me Feel (Mighty Real) March 13 at 7 PM. Throughout the evening, an ensemble of performers will "collaborate" with ChatGPT and other AI programs to create characters, plots, dialogues, musical scores, and more for improvised scenes. One performance will feature The Civilians Artistic Director Steve Cosson exploring art and politics with a bot he created in his own image called “Aging Homosexual." The evening will feature performers Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Maya Sharpe, Cindy Cheung, Robert Johanson, Heath Saunders, and Jennifer R. Morris, writer Colleen Werthmann, composer and sound designer Christian Frederickson, and music director Wiley DeWeese.
Following April 17 at 7 PM will be Liveness: A Performance Made From The WNYC Archives. The Greene Space serves as the broadcast studio for WNYC and WQXR, and the evening will explore the radio station's recordings from the 1970s. At the time, WNYC regularly aired 90-minute conversations "with experimental filmmakers and radical poets that included awkward pauses and the background sounds of children playing." Performers will create a portrait of New York City from 50 years ago by channeling the voices of artists featured in the archives. Details for The Civilians' final curated evening on May 15 will be announced at a later date.
“The Greene Space has long been a site that elevates bold and courageous voices across New York City through a range of multidisciplinary performances. We’re thrilled to host The Civilians, an innovative theatre collective that works at the intersection of art and journalism, as our Spring Artist-in-Residence,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, Executive Director, The Greene Space.
Steve Cosson, Artistic Director of The Civilians, said in a statement, “In addition to the vast richness of the WNYC archive, the intimacy and the immediacy of The Greene Space dares us to reimagine how theater gets made.”