Paris Commune

October 3 – 7, 2012

Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin United States
Description In 1871, working-class Parisians overthrew the French government and declared Paris autonomous. With this musical play, co-authored by The Civilians’ artistic director Steven Cosson and composer Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), the Brooklyn-based company brings these explosive events to life. The piece marks the first time The Civilians has brought its signature investigative theater approach—which includes in-depth interaction with topics via interviews and immersions—to a historical event. The resulting work incorporates primary sources such as journals, letters, and the music of the time, ranging from raucous popular songs to opera to “The Internationale,” a future Communist anthem whose lyrics were written by uprising leader Eugène Pottier. During its short 70-day life the Commune attempted to reinvent every aspect of modern life—from the role of labor to the status of women—making it the perfect subject for this spirited and inquisitive company’s BAM debut and a fitting continuation of its "Autumn of Revolution," which begins September 17 with a special one-night-only cabaret on the occasion of the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street to be held at Joe's Pub. Since its founding in 2001, The Civilians—the center for investigative theater led by artistic director Steve Cosson—has supported the creation of 13 original shows and received an Obie Award in 2004. The Civilians champions innovation by tackling complex and underexplored subjects, enabling artists to enrich their process via in-depth interaction with their topics, diversifying artistic voices and audiences, and integrating theater with new media. Development often involves community residencies, travel, and extensive research. This high degree of engagement with the public continues into performances: The Civilians encourages audiences to be active participants through ongoing channels of dialogue. The company provides a home for a multidisciplinary group of artists and partners with regional theater and arts presenters in New York, nationally, and internationally.
Identifier 2012f.01110
Season Fall 2012
VenueFisher Building (Fishman Space, Hillman Studio)
choreographerTracy Bersley
costume designerSarah Beers
directorSteve Cosson
lighting designerThomas Dunn
musical directorKen Travis, Benjamin Furiga
set designer/decorAlexander Dodge