Nobody's Lunch: The Civilians

Institute History

  • 2006 Theatre Lab at White Oak


Written and directed by Steven Cosson with songs by Michael Friedman, NOBODY'S LUNCH is a dark ride through the landscape of American public culture. This latest creation from the Obie-winning company THE CIVILIANS asks the thorny question: how do we know what we know when everyone in power seems to be lying? Is it possible to know what’s really going on in the world when information is manipulated to serve particular interests? Does anyone really care? Delving into the politics of information, the company—in its singular signature style—conducted extensive interviews with subjects ranging from a policymaker at Homeland Security on the verge of a nervous breakdown to a plucky extraterrestrial (channeled by an equally funny human); from every Jessica Lynch in the phone book (who was willing to talk) to soldiers guarding the New York subway with unloaded weapons. Turning these interviews into a mercurial cabaret-play, a versatile cast inhabits an eccentric cast of characters, all taken from real life. We meet a soldier guarding Penn Station from terrorists, a world-famous conspiracy theorist, and an escaped sex slave for the CIA. There are market researchers working to turn our innermost feelings into sales, and ordinary citizens trying their best to make some sort of sense of it all.

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