Theater is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theater can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it. - Augusto Boal, Theater of the Oppressed
The Civilians invite theaters from across the country to participate in new Occupy project.
In the audience of a Broadway show, or even Off-Broadway, one can look around and reliably find a wealthier, older crowd. For those who can afford tickets upwards of one hundred dollars, the theater is often a site for the elite to appreciate performance that most will likely never get a chance to see.
The Civilians, however, is bringing its special brand of investigatory theater to the people— the 99%. Using theater to investigate larger social issues, Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17 is sure to stir up some new conversations.
On September 17, 2012, the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street,The Civilians is inviting artists, students, and activists—and everyone—to join in sharing stories from the past year of Occupy by curating performances using Civilians interviews. That night, The Civilians will be presenting its latest cabaret event, Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17, at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. Participants in Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, and more will be hosting their own performances at the same time in communities across the country, and we hope you’ll join us, too! Occupy #S17 will include the performance of interviews and music from the movement. The name “#S17” reflects the Twitter hashtag used to reference actions planned around the anniversary.
Over the past year, The Civilians’ team of actors has conducted interviews with Occupy activists across the country. There have been three Occupy performances so far: two at Joe’s Pub in The Public Theater and a free show at the Judson Memorial Church. The upcoming fourth show is sure to be just as exciting. Some recent interviewees have included the president of the United States Student Association, an ex-Tea Party member, a Palestinian activist, and the man who inspired the character of Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s movie Do the Right Thing. With digital recorders in hand, Civilians artists have been seen marching with Con Edison workers during the lockout, hanging out with groups of anarchists, and debating with scholars in Occupy organizing meetings.
For this project, The Civilians is calling on all theaters, schools, and other groups to select edited interviews from The Civilians “Occupy Your Mind” database online and perform them in their own towns. Don’t have a theater? Public parks, shopping malls, school auditoriums, living rooms, and classrooms are all great places for Occupy #S17 performances.
Using the power of art to move and transform, inspire and activate, Occupy #S17 will be an opportunity to reflect on the importance of Occupy, what it has accomplished in the past year, and where it goes from here. With the presidential election coming up, issues of economic inequality and social justice are as pertinent as ever to the American people. Actors and theater makers may not always have the ability to lobby congress or organize rallies, but they’ll always have the stage.
If you would like to get involved in performing Occupy #S17, please visit our website and view examples of past performances on our Tumblr. To get tickets to The Civilians’ Joe’s Pub show on September 17th in New York, please click here and be sure to check out the recent feature in The New York Times. Join the conversation on Twitter using #S17Civs!
Please contact email@example.com for more information and to get involved.