Dan Domingues and Irene Lucio in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine.

Dan Domingues and Irene Lucio in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine.


Whatever the path of our lives may be, we all know that somehow, at some time, it ends. The finitude of life and the mystery of what happens after death lie at the heart of the great archetypal stores--the hero's journey to the world of the dead and their eventual return with a transformed understanding of life. In The Undertaking, a single interview evolves into an unexpectedly personal dialogue as two actors embark on their own playful and idiosyncratic trip to the other side. The mercurial actors also play multiple characters drawn from the project's investigation--a near death experiencer, a prominent philosopher, and a cancer patient on a psilocybin trip among others. Along the way they find humor, terror, and a surprising test of friendship. Made from interviews and recorded conversations, The Undertaking takes The Civilians signature form of investigative theater and propels it into the company's most personal work.


59E59 in New York City, January 11 - February 4, 2018  BUY TICKETS HERE

Previous Tour Cities:

World Premiere at BAM 2016 Next Wave Festival, September 21-25, 2016.  

Théâtre de la Ville - Paris, France


Dan Domingues in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine

Dan Domingues in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine


Since its founding by Steve Cosson and a company of Associate Artists in 2001, The Civilians has achieved prominence as the premier investigative theater company in the country, having made numerous critically-acclaimed works derived from creative field research. With methods ranging from company-devised to playwright driven, The Civilians work shares a common purpose to dynamically engage vital social, cultural and political questions. Recent works include Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, José Rivera's Another Word for Beauty, Michael Friedman and Bess Wohl's Pretty Filthy, among many others.


The Undertaking

Written and Directed by Steve Cosson

Creative Collaborator and Psychopomp: Jessica Mitrani

Set and Costume Design: Marsha Ginsberg

Lighting Design: Thomas Dunn

Sound Design: Mikhail Fiksel

Projection Design: Tal Yarden

Featuring: Irene Lucio and Dan Domingues


Additional information can be found about The Civilians at www.thecivilians.org

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Irene Lucio in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine.

Irene Lucio in The Undertaking. Photo by Richard Termine.


"Morbidly funny..." - The New York Times


"The Undertaking pulled at the pit of my stomach as it carried out its explorations of a subject of extraordinary depth with surprising lightness. As this investigation of death brings us such new respect for life, The Undertaking reveals Cosson's most honest and unyielding sincerity, his admission of fear, and his (and our) realization that we are not alone." - Theatre is Easy




Contact Ronee Penoi for more details.


New Works in Development

The Civilians seek residency opportunities for the development of new and ongoing projects, including a new play about the charter school movement by Ethan Lipton, new plays by Claire Kiechel, Dominic Finnochiario and C.A. Johnson, Rimbaud in America, a devised work with music that builds on an early work produced by BAM and the Poetry Foundation, as well as a major new initiative involving multiple productions which is currently in the planning stage.

In the Room with The Civilians

Educational residencies designed for university settings.

The Civilians bring over a decade of expertise in inquiry-based theatre-making to the school setting with a rigorous series of lectures and hands-on workshops. Students will be immersed in the Civilians' unique artistic and journalistic process of making investigative theater - one that embraces creative inquiry, research, and interaction with communities and individuals.

Available for custom engagement residencies.

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Boy genius, rebel, visionary, Rimbaud set off a bomb in the world of letters with the publication of Illuminations. 130 years later, this dazzling book of poems, written mostly in prose, continues to amaze . John Ashbery's recent highly-acclaimed translation offers us these poems through the wonderfully precise and always surprising language of one of America's greatest contemporary poets. For Rimbaud in America, The Civilians create a wildly original, playful and enriching inquiry into the meaning and legacy of Illuminations, staging how these revolutionary poems continue to resonate in the American imagination, setting off explosions in the minds of new readers. The show finds Rimbaud in the 1950s of Ashbery and Frank O'Hara, in the downtown scene of the 1970s and in the many artists and musicians he's influenced -- Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, David Wojnarowicz and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few. But, most centrally the show focuses on the poems themselves, which The Civilians animate through performance, song and an eclectic theatricality that brings Rimbaud into the present, here and alive in New York City.


Written and Directed by Steve Cosson

Poems by Arthur Rimbaud translated by John Ashbery


Featuring songs by Adam Cochran, Michael Friedman, Rebecca Hart, Joseph Keckler, Matthew Dean Marsh and Grace McLean

Rimbaud in New York originally produced by BAM with major support from the Poetry Foundation



Scenic Design: Andromache Chaifant

Costume Design: Paloma Young

Lighting Design: Eric Southern

Sound Design and Additional Compositions: Daniel Kluger

Music Direction: Matthew Dean Marsh

Original Cast:

Adam Cochran

Harriett D. Foy

Rebecca Hart

Joseph Keckler

Jo Lampert

Tony Torn

Dito Van Reigersberg