The Civilians Announces 10th Annual R&D Group FINDINGS Series, June 16-30
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 12:50 pm EDT 06/08/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 12:48 pm EDT 06/08/21

The Civilians Announces 10th Annual R&D Group FINDINGS Series - Streaming Online! - and Opens Applications for the 2021-2022 R&D Group

The Civilians (Steve Cosson, Artistic Director; Margaret Moll, Managing Director), the award-winning New York-based theater company, presents the tenth annual R&D Group FINDINGS Series. The R&D Group is comprised of writers, composers, and directors who worked with the Civilians for nine months to develop seven original pieces of theater through the creative investigation of a pre-selected subject. Artists for this tenth anniversary season were selected from a competitive application process. The open call received a record number of applications, a 60% increase from last year.

The tenth annual FINDINGS Series will run from June 16-30 and will be streamed online. All of these works-in-progress readings are free and will require a reservation. To RSVP, please fill out this form: www.thecivilians.org/rsvp

This FINDINGS Series will feature six projects from the 2020-21 by R&D Group members Galia Backal, Nana Dakin, Isabella Dawis, Jacinth Greywoode, Jaime Lozano, Emily Lyon, AriDy Nox, Reynaldo Piniella, Tylie Shider, Tidtaya Sinutoke, Rachel M. Stevens, & Noelle Viñas.

They are supported by collaborations with Florencia Cuenca, Ikumi Kuronaga, Hayley Finn, Jonathan McCrory, Danica Rodriguez, Dante Flores, Suzu Sakai, Adventure We Can, and more. Ken Urban also participated in this season's R&D Group with an EST/Sloan Commissioned Project, developed by the Civilians; his play will receive its first reading at EST.

This season marks 10 years for The Civilians' R&D Group. Led by R&D Program Director Ilana Becker, the artists share work as it develops, discuss their creative processes, and provide a community of support for one another. Each project develops according to its unique methods of creative inquiry, offering new approaches to the idea of "investigative theater." Methods may include interviews, community engagement, research, or other experimental methods of inquiry.

Projects this year investigate a wide cross-section of topics that share common threads of perseverance, ancestry, and active resilience. They include stories inspired by the murals and lawn signs that emerged in a Minneapolis neighborhood in protest of police brutality, the years young Sally Hemmings spent in Paris, the 20th century South American diaspora, astronomer Hisako Koyama, the fight to end gender-based violence and the killing of women and girls in Mexico, and a participatory theatrical game that invites audiences to take center stage in the fight for environmental justice. The projects' creative processes include interviews, intensive research, and other experimental methods of inquiry. Led by R&D Program Director Ilana Becker and Artistic Director Steve Cosson, the cohort shared and discussed their processes, examined artistic choices, and provided a community of support for one another.

Applications open June 4 for the 2021-22 R&D Group. The Civilians seek writers, composers, directors, and generative theatermakers to join the eleventh cohort of its R&D Group. Participants will have the opportunity to create and develop their own investigative work of theater, contribute to bi-monthly meetings among a cohort of investigative theatermakers, and present a work-in-progress showing as part of the annual FINDINGS Series. The application for the 2021-22 R&D Group can be found on the Civilians website or http://thecivilians.org/applyhere. All applications must be submitted by 6:00pm on July 6, 2021, for consideration.

EL CÓNDOR MÁGICO - 6/16 @ 7:00PM
Written by Noelle Viñas, Directed by Galia Backal
Gripped with a surrealist dream logic and a need to grieve her father by trying to get to know him after his death, Nieta becomes obsessed with interviewing family members in her waking life about his teenage years and early twenties, which took place during a time her father never spoke of: Uruguay's military dictatorship. Undeterred in her grieving and armed with stubbornness and a sense of humor, Nieta follows a dark road of inquiry from her home in the US to Uruguay, the country of her birth, learning about the political imprisonment of over 400,000 people and the unknown thousands of "disappeared" people across South America. By speaking to relatives both living and in the world beyond through magical realism, Nieta slowly uncovers a collective family secret that recontextualizes her family story and her relationship with both of the countries where she is a citizen.

NOELLE VIÑAS (Writer) is a playwright, educator, and theater-artist from Springfield, Virginia and Montevideo, Uruguay. Her play Derecho (2019 John Gassner Playwriting Award) was workshopped as part of the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Recent commissions include Feel the Spirit for Shotgun Players, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company for her short play Zoom Intervention (NY Times Critic's Pick). She is a resident artist at Colt Coeur and a winner of the 2021 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award Prize at Primary Stages. Previously, she was part of Playwrights Foundation's four-year Resident Playwrights Initiative and a 2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. BA: Emerson College; MFA Playwriting: Brooklyn College. Viñas resides in Brooklyn and is a proud member of the NYC Latinx Playwrights Circle.

GALIA BACKAL (Director) is a first generation Mexican-American director, choreographer, and collaborator. Galia received her BA in Directing from Pace University and is currently a part of the 2020-2022 Roundabout Directors Group Cohort. She is drawn to work that supports themes of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality so that audiences can dive deeper into the stories of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented. Galia has worked with The Drama League, Samuel French, Atlantic Theater Company, The Sol Project, San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Tank, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and TADA Theatre. She has acted as director and creator for collaborative works including A VERY GIRLY STORY (EAT), ONE DAY OLDER (Theatre Row), SILENCE (The Tank), and IF I DARE (Layton Studios). Recent directing credits include UNTITLED PUPPET SHOW by Daniella De Jesús (San Diego Repertory Theatre), INÚTIL by Alisha Espinosa (Teatro LATEA), CANCIONES PROJECT WORKSHOP by Beto O'Byrne (The Sol Project), WEST SIDE STORY (Bay View Music Festival), and LATCH by Tom Mularz (Samuel French OOB Festival). https://www.galiabackal.com/

WHITTIER - 6/21 @ 7:00PM
Written by Tylie Shider, Directed by Hayley Finn
A contemporary docudrama that follows a diverse community of neighbors living in Whittier, Minneapolis days after the murder of George Floyd. The piece is based on interviews Tylie conducted about the murals and lawn signs that emerged in protest of police brutality during the 2020 uprisings in his neighborhood.

TYLIE SHIDER (Writer) is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights' Center and an I Am Soul playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre. He holds a BA in Journalism from Delaware State University and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. Recent plays include: CERTAIN ASPECTS OF CONFLICT IN THE NEGRO FAMILY and THE GOSPEL WOMAN.

Music by Jacinth Greywoode, Book and Lyrics by AriDy Nox, Directed by Jonathan McCrory
BLACK GIRL IN PARIS is a musical about one of the most famous and least known black women in the American historical canon: Sally Hemmings. It hones in on her years spent in Paris, a point in her life where she both had the most access to freedom ever afforded her and the beginnings of the relationship that would forever define her legacy. Black Girl in Paris seeks to explore the inherent contradictions of an enslaved young black woman held in bondage in a city where slavery has been outlawed, under a man widely considered to be one of the architects of one of the greatest articulations of the necessity of freedom in the western world. It also centers an ensemble cast of Ancestors who chide and guide Sally along her journey, interweaving fables and history to craft the nuanced world Sally is forced to grapple with. At the heart of this musical is the question "What does it mean to be free?", a question black Americans have been grappling with since the original kidnapping and enslavement of Africans for the American project.

JACINTH GREYWOODE (Music) is a New York-based composer and music director. Recent compositional credits include: GONE MISSING Encores! Off-Center Lobby Project (New York City Center); MASTER (America Opera Projects, NYU Tisch; words by Deepali Gupta); WHITE RAVEN/BLACK DOVE (commissioned by White Snake Projects, premiering in Boston, 2022); and IRON JOHN (2020 Richard Rodgers Finalist, 2019 O'Neill NMTC Semifinalist, NAMT 31st Festival of New Musicals, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival, 2019 O'Neill Incubator Residency; words by Rebecca Hart). Recent directing/arranging credits include A SOLDIER'S PLAY and THE ROSE TATTOO (American Airlines Theater) and WiLDFLOWER (Apollo Theater; music assistant). Jacinth received a Bachelor of Arts in music with a Certificate in collaborative piano performance from Princeton University, a Master of Arts in composition from Stony Brook University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. More information at www.jacinthgreywoode.com.

ARIDY NOX (Book and Lyrics) is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist with a variety of forward-thinking creative works under her/their belt including the historical reimagining of the life of Sally Hemmings BLACK GIRL IN PARIS (2020), the ancestral reckoning play A WALLESS CHURCH(2019), the afrofuturist ecopocalypse musical METROPOLIS (2019), and many others. AriDy creates out of the vehement belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. Their tales are offerings intended to function as small parts of an ancient, expansive, awe-inspiring tradition of world-shaping, created by and for black femmes. As a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU and a beneficiary of the Emerging Writer's Group at the Public Theatre, she has been inordinately privileged to share the workings of her imagination among a vast array of inspiring and supportive artists of various radical backgrounds throughout the city. Please visit www.aridynox.com for more information.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CARD GAME (working title) - 6/25 @ 7:00PM
Co-created by Reynaldo Piniella and Emily Lyon
If your water is polluted, your air is dirty, and your family is getting sick -- what do you do? In ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CARD GAME (working title), recruit allies and take action on your mission to protect your neighborhood! From a rag-tag group of community members to onboarding the Governor, learn to trust your circle and make a difference. WhenENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CARD GAME is fully realized, it will both be a participatory theatrical piece as well as an accompanying card game that will allow people to play the game off-line themselves, thus giving access to people who normally don't have access to the arts.

REYNALDO PINIELLA (co-creator) is an actor, writer, arts educator and activist from East New York, Brooklyn. He received the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship from TCG to develop and star in a bilingual English-Spanish production of Hamlet with the Classical Theatre of Harlem in association with the Public Theater's Shakespeare Initiative. His writing has also been developed by the Lark, San Diego Rep, Baltimore Center Stage and HB Studio. As an actor, he's been seen Off-Broadway in The Death of the Last Black Man…, Venus (Signature), The Skin of Our Teeth (TFANA), Lockdown (Rattlestick), The Space Between the Letters (The Public/UTR) and Terminus (NYTW Next Door). Regional credits include Baltimore Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Play House, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, O'Neill and the Sundance Theater Lab in Morocco. Follow him @ReynaldoRey. www.reynaldopiniella.com

EMILY LYON (co-creator) is an award-winning Brooklyn-based theatre director and dramaturg whose work delves into the poetry and politics of language. As Associate Artistic Director of Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre, she is curating Expand the Canon, a call to action to include a diverse set of women playwrights in the classical canon. In March, she was selected for the first U.S. Creative Climate Leadership cohort. Directing credits include the world premieres of #YOURMEMORIAL (HERE Arts), HOW WE HEAR (The Brick, LPAC), THE SUMMONING (Best Direction, Best Production: sheNYC), THE SWORD & THE STONE/THE TEMPEST (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), WOMEN OF WILLIAMS COUNTY (Best Ensemble: MITF), and SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS (Best Premiere: UnitedSolo). She has worked with HVSF, The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Flea, The Folger, LaMaMa, BEDLAM and others. Drama League Directing Fellow, Geva Theatre Directing Fellow. SDC Associate. BFA: Michigan. EmilyALyon.com

Music Jaime Lozano, Book and Direction by Rachel M. Stevens, Lyrics by Jaime Lozano and Florencia Cuenca
Told through the lens of Mexican folklore, Desaparecidas explores the psychology behind the strategic erasure of female voices in the fight to end gender-based violence and the killing of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. A female ensemble assumes a community of characters in a tapestried play of dramatized accounts, fictionalized scenes and musical sequences to unearth and dismantle the moral behind the 'myth' of violence against women.

JAIME LOZANO (Composer/Lyricist/Creator) Considered by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda as the "next big thing" on Broadway. Joe's Pub Working Group 2020-2022 residency. The Civilians' R&D Group 2020-2021. Jack Residency 2021. Selected works: THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD (Off-Broadway & National Tour), CARMEN LA CUBANA (European Tour), CHILDREN OF SALT (NYMF 2016 "Best of Fest" Production), A NEVER-ENDING LINE (Comédie Nation in Paris, France & Off-Broadway), SAVAGE (UAB at Birmingham), PRESENT PERFECT (Live & In Color). Film: IN THE HEIGHTS (orchestrator). Albums: "Tlatelolco," "Carols for a Cure 2010," R.Evolución Latina's "Dare to Go Beyond," Florencia Cuenca's "Aquí - Los Nuevos Standards," Doreen Montalvo's "American Soul/Latin Heart," "A Never-Ending Line," and "Songs by an Immigrant," these last three released by Broadway Records. "Jaime Lozano and the Familia: Songs by an Immigrant" sold-out shows at Two River Theater, Joe's Pub, and The Green Room 42. BFA: Music & Composition, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León; MFA: NYU/Tisch, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program; part of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, AFM Local 802, BMI and GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY voting member. www.jaimelozano.netTwitter/IG: @jaimelozano

FLORENCIA CUENCA (Lyricist/Creator) Mexican actress, singer, director and writer based in New York City. She entered the artistic world at the age of three acting alongside her father in stadiums and theaters throughout Mexico and the USA. Back in Mexico she is known for telenovelas such as "De que te quiero te quiero," "Muchachitas como tú," "De Pocas, Pocas Pulgas," "Te Sigo Amando," "La Rosa de Guadalupe," "Como Dice el Dicho," and for being part of the successful Mexican musical SI NOS DEJAN, the Mexican premiere of SHREK THE MUSICAL and SELENA THE MUSICAL. Her first album "Aquí - The New Standards", -produced by husband Jaime Lozano- made her tour all around Mexico, Latin America and New York City; performing in some of the most prestigious jazz venues and Festivals, being awarded with the Hot House Jazz Award 2016 for Best New Jazz Artist. She has performed Off-Broadway in shows such as CHILDREN OF SALT (NYMF 2016 Best of Fest) and A NEVER-ENDING LINE (album available at Broadway Records). She directed the short film "Malinche, a broken identity" for the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Currently she is working on her new album "Broadway en Spanglish." She is interested in developing projects that celebrate diversity and especially the Latinx community. Twitter/IG: @flowcuenca

RACHEL M. STEVENS (Book/Director/Creator) is a director and educator based in New York. Most recent credits include HOMEGROWN STORIES (City Theatre of Pittsburgh), THE WOLVES (The Pittsburgh Playhouse), Associate Director to Peter Flynn, SMART BLONDE (59E59). Select directing credits include, Quantum Theatre, Front Porch Theatricals, New York Film Academy, SheNYC, NYMF and TheaterWorksUSA. Rachel was Assistant Director to Rachel Chavkin, PRELUDES (Lincoln Center Theater, LCT3), NATASHA PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 (A.R.T, Imperial Theatre Broadway) and Andy Blankenbuehler THE BANDSTAND (Paper Mill Playhouse). Rachel is currently a monologue coach with MTCA, (Musical Theater College Auditions), here in NYC. She is a founding member of Brave Space Studios, a virtual theater program developed in response to the pandemic that offers a communal space for students to embrace current challenges and explore their talents, ideas and identities through the performing arts. Rachel is excited to get back in the classroom this fall to join the Theater Faculty at Concordia College, MN, as Artist in Residence. Rachel holds her MFA in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and is proud SDC Associate.

SUNWATCHER - 6/30 @ 2:30PM
Book/Lyrics by Isabella Dawis, Music by Tidtaya Sinutoke, Directed by Nana Dakin, with support from Creative Producer/Cultural Consultant Ikumi Kuronaga
SUNWATCHER , a Noh-inspired musical, is the story of astronomer Hisako Koyama (1916-1997) - intertwined with the ancient Japanese myth of the sun goddess Amaterasu, in a retelling inspired by the structure of classical Noh theatre. Hisako was a woman with no formal scientific training - also a survivor of the 1945 US air raid of Tokyo, the deadliest bombing in history - who managed to rise to the stature of Galileo. She did so by drawing the sun in painstaking detail every day for 40 years, a landmark achievement for solar science. SUNWATCHER is a celebration of Hisako's extraordinary dedication to ordinary observation, reminding us how seemingly small acts can have an immense impact over time and space.

ISABELLA DAWIS (book/lyrics) is a playwright and performer. She is the recipient of the Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke for their musical HALF THE SKY, the story of an Asian American woman climbing Mount Everest - recently adapted into a radio play by the 5th Avenue Theatre. Their musical SUNWATCHER, about Japanese female astronomer Hisako Koyama, is being developed/presented at the Civilians R&D Group, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms Festival, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, and Tofte Lake Center. Recent playwriting credits include Theater Mu's New Eyes Festival and 24 Hour Viral Musicals; additional support from Theater Latté Da, the O'Neill Center, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the Kurt Weill Foundation, Goodspeed's Johnny Mercer Writers Grove, the American Theatre Wing, Musical Theatre Factory, and more. B.M. summa cum laude, piano performance, University of Minnesota; Classical Voice, New England Conservatory; Rockwell Scholarship, Primary Stages ESPA. isabelladawis.com

TIDTAYA SINOTUKE (????? ?????? ) (composer) is a Thailand born, NYC-based composer. Composition credits include HALF THE SKY (The 5th Avenue Theatre's First Draft Commission & 20/21 Digital Season, Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Richard Rodgers Award finalist); SUNWATCHER (The Civilians R&D Group, Weston Playhouse's Songs for Today, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms Festival); and DEAR MR. C. She was awarded a 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant, and a 2020 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award. Her works have been supported by the Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence, MTF's Makers Cohort, and the Kurt Weill Foundation. A proud member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, Maestra, MUSE, and Thai Theatre Foundation. MFA: NYU. tidtayasinutoke.com

NANA DAKIN (director) is a Thai American director of new work, classics and devised performance based in NYC. Her work pursues social equity by examining the way culture is constructed and unsettling dormant biases. Current: SORRY / NOT SORRY (Ars Nova 2021 ANT Fest), SUNWATCHER (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms Festival, Ancram Opera House PlayLab, The Civilians FINDINGS Series). Upcoming: MAMMELEPHANT (Theater Row). Recent: WHITE PEARL (The Royal Court Theatre), LOVE LETTER TO A SEED (Clubbed Thumb Winterworks), an all-female and non-binary production of Shakespeare's RICHARD III (Lenfest Center for the Arts) and DAMAGE JOY (Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting). New work development includes GOLDEN SHIELD by Anchuli Felicia King, a finalist for the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Nana is a 2020/21 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow and in the 2020/21 Civilians R&D Group. She was a 2050 NYTW Directing Fellow in 2018/19. MFA Theatre Directing: Columbia University. www.nanadakin.com

IKUMI KURONAGA (creative producer/cultural consultant) is a Japanese producer based in NYC. Her focus is on producing global projects to connect people through storytelling. After producing over 10 original shows in Japan, she moved to NYC as a U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellow. Some of her Tony-winning Broadway shows include Angels in America (Neil Simon Theatre), Oklahoma! (Circle in the Square Theatre), Tootsie (Marquis Theater), and Frozen (St. James Theatre). Besides theatre, she also worked on Tokyo Vice (HBO Max) and developed scripted films and TV series at Amazon Studios. MFA candidate: Theatre Management and Producing at Columbia University. Official columnist for Forbes Japan.
Link http://www.thecivilians.org

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