MoMA Multimedia


The Civilians in Performance

December 11, 2007 7:30 p.m. Toward the end of his brief but influential career, Georges Seurat turned to the Parisian café-concert for subject matter, creating a significant body of work that explored the singers, musicians, and audience of this intriguing nineteenth-century urban cultural spectacle. Using these drawings by Seurat as a springboard, The Civilians, a New York–based theater company, will bring together a selection of original songs rarely performed today with projected depictions of the café-concerts by Seurat's Impressionist predecessors, such as Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas, as well as those by Seurat and his contemporary Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Interspersed between these songs—providing texture and context—will be readings from contemporary literature offering evocative descriptions of these locales. Founded in 2001 by Artistic Director Steven Cosson, The Civilians is an innovative theater company that produces original work from creative investigations of real life. The company has created four shows—Canard, Canard, Goose?, Gone Missing, The Ladies, and (I am) Nobody's Lunch—which have been performed in New York and at theaters nationally and internationally. The Obie- and Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award–winning company recently made its commercial Off-Broadway debut with Gone Missing at the Barrow Street Theatre; its run has been extended through January 2008. Two projects currently in development, Paris Commune, which loosely relates to their MoMA performance, and This Beautiful City, which explores the Evangelical Christian movement, will premiere in the coming year.

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