Tenth Annual R&D Group FINDINGS Series to be Presented by The Civilians

The tenth annual FINDINGS Series will run from June 16-30 and will be streamed online.

By: Jun. 08, 2021
Tenth Annual R&D Group FINDINGS Series to be Presented by The Civilians

The Civilians will present 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.

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.


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.


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. When ENVIRONMENTAL 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.


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.

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.

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