Thursday, August 10, 2006

(I am) Nobody's Lunch

by Alan Chadwick

Young New York theatre company The Civilians has been bracketed alongside those other off-the-wall, left-field pranksters The Team. And it's easy to see why. Both play with convention to offer up a uniquely dynamic experience: in this case by mixing musical cabaret with verbatim theatre.

A satirical journey through the American heartland and its state of mind post-September 11, (I Am) Nobody's Lunch asks the question: How do we know what we know, and how do we know what we know is true? In order to find out, The Civilians set about conducting interviews on topics such as What Are You Afraid Of?, How Do We Know What We Know? and Is Tom Cruise Gay?

Interviewees include a foreign student, a soldier standing guard at Grand Central station and a policymaker at Homeland Security. Various people called Jessica Lynch are also interviewed to find their opinions about the rescue in Iraq of army supply clerk Jessica Lynch, who became the poster girl of the invasion. Domestic issues about relationships are also aired. The responses are then intercut with a series of musical numbers.

Simply by choosing what truths to explore and where to place them means The Civilians are inevitably caught up in spinning the spin. But the end result is a thought-provoking and funny alternative cabaret that delights in letting the cat out of the bag. If you go see it you'll know exactly what I mean.

Until Aug 28 (not Mon), Assembly @ George Street (V3), 3.15pm.

[Photo by Leslie Lyons of Brad Heberlee, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Daoud Heidami, and Jennifer R. Morris.]