Contemporary theater director

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The Public Theater and Kansas City Rep; Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Playwrights Horizons and Woolly Mammoth, which was included in Top 10 lists in The New York Times, Time Out, The New Yorker, Vogue, and best production of the season in The Washington Post; writer/director of In the Footprint; This Beautiful City at Vineyard, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Humana Festival; (I am) Nobody’s Lunch in New York, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, and Soho Theatre, London; Gone Missing with several US and UK productions and a one-year run Off Broadway at Barrow Street; and Paris Commune at Public Theater, BAM Next Wave, La Jolla Playhouse.

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Presentation Transcript

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STEVE COSSON

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PRODUCTIONS

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PLA Y S THE ABOMINABLES (8M, 5W, YOUTH ENSEMBLE)

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Set in the high-stakes world of Minnesota suburban youth hockey, the Munson family revolves around their hockey-playing oldest son Mitch, now 12 (even though there are two other siblings, Tracy who also plays hockey, and youngest Lily). Mitch has always played in the top tier and he must keep his place on the A Team in this ever-so-critical last year of youth hockey if he’s to have any chance of advancing in high school and beyond. Mitch’s life is ruined, however, when a new kid, who happens to be an exceptional player, beats him in tryouts. The new kid, Harry, also happens to be a yeti, adopted by his exceptionally adventurous and high-achieving mountain climber parents, Hank and Judy. Over the course of hockey season, Harry leads the Prairie Lakes Blizzards to greatness, possibly even to a victory against the undefeatable youth hockey team of Thunder Bay in Canada. Mitch, meanwhile, embarks on a mission to expel Harry from Prairie Lakes, leading to increasingly desperate measures that ultimately drag both families into a storm of emotional chaos. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. 

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THE UNDERTAKING   (1M, 1W) 

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In this meta-theatrical work of investigative theater, writer/director Steve Cosson (played by an actor) is interviewing subjects for a new piece about the big question—how do we live with the uncomfortable fact that we already know the end of our story: we die. The play begins with Steve interviewing his friend Lydia, a Colombian/New Yorker artist. He wants Lydia to talk about how she successfully transcended all her death anxieties after a particularly intense ayahuasca ritual (aka ‘the vine of death’ a powerful South American hallucinogen used in traditional shamanic practices). Lydia, however, refuses to let Steve be a passive interviewer. As the night progresses and the alcohol flows, their dialogue evolves into a goofy, improvised “journey to the underworld.” As Lydia takes on the job of being Steve’s “ psychopomp ,” meaning a guide to the other side, they both play many of Steve’s interviews—a philosopher, a hospice nurse, an Iraq war vet, a cancer patient undergoing psilocybin therapy—eventually getting to the point where together they touch down into an intense undercurrent of existential terror.  

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R IMBAUD IN NEW YORK (3-4M, 3W)

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He smoked a clay pipe, stole books, wrote hymns to bodily orifices, and, by the age of 21, had changed the face of literature forever. But then Arthur Rimbaud disappeared. In this prismatic collage of song and story, a company of actors use music-theater to consider the life and lasting influence of modernism’s most elusive enfant terrible on the New York scenes of art, music and rock and roll. Staged musical renditions of original texts—John Ashbery’s seminal translations of the poet’s Illuminations, Rimbaud’s letters to his lover Verlaine—complement writer-director Steve Cosson’s meditations on the poet’s sexuality and influence on artists like Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and several New York poets interviewed by Cosson : Eileen Myles, Dael Orlandersmith , Ariana Reines and John Ashbery among others. The result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a man whose verbal alchemy made the bourgeois world blush. Songs by: Adam Cochran, Michael Friedman, Rebecca Hart, Joseph Keckler , Matthew Dean Marsh and Grace McLean

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STEVE COSSON is a director, writer and Artistic Director of The Civilians theater company in New York, where he has originated and developed numerous original works in collaboration with some of the leading theater artists of the country. 

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Recent credits include, bookwriter and director of The Abominables at Children’s Theater Company, writer and director of The Undertaking at BAM Next Wave, US tour, Theatre de la Ville, Paris; director of José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty, world premiere at the Goodman Theatre; writer/director, Rimbaud in New York at BAM; director of Michael Friedman and Bess Wohl’s musical Pretty Filthy; and the Off Broadway revival of The Belle of Amherst starring Joely Richardson. 

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Recently, the Civilians were the first theater company in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the company created several original shows for the season. 

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Other world premieres include The Great Immensity (writer/director) at The Public Theater and Kansas City Rep; Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Playwrights Horizons and Woolly Mammoth, which was included in Top 10 lists in The New York Times, Time Out, The New Yorker, Vogue, and best production of the season in The Washington Post; writer/director of In the Footprint; This Beautiful City at Vineyard, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Humana Festival; (I am) Nobody’s Lunch in New York, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, and Soho Theatre, London; Gone Missing with several US and UK productions and a one-year run Off Broadway at Barrow Street; and Paris Commune at Public Theater, BAM Next Wave, La Jolla Playhouse. 

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Other directing highlights include Anne Washburn’s A Devil at Noon (Humana Festival); Ethel’s Documerica (BAM Next Wave); Dael Orlandersmith’s Stoop Stories; Spring Awakening (Olney Theatre); Bus Stop (Kansas City Rep); and the US premiere of Attempts on Her Life ( Soho Rep) among many others. 

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He created and hosts The Civilians cabaret and podcast series Let Me Ascertain You. He developed an original television series for TBS network and is currently working on a new project with ITV Entertainment. He was a speaker at the 2012 TED Conference. He has been a MacDowell Fellow, participated in the Sundance Theater Lab several times, and he was a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia. 

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H is plays are published by D ramatists P lay Service, O beron Books and P layscripts , In c.

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GENERAL PRESS, INTERVIEWS, & PUBLICATIONS

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DISCOVERING WHAT WE DON’T KNOW An Interview with Steve Cosson of the Civilians by Sarah Kozinn TDR: The Drama Review 54:4 (T208) Winter 2010. ©2010 New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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THE CIVILIANS EXPLORE EVERYTHING FROM DISNEY'S GEESE TO CALIFORNIA'S PORN By Zachary Stewart TheaterMania offers a brief history of one of America's most inquisitive and controversial theater companies. ©2015

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THANK YOU FOR WATCHING OUR PRESENTATION V ISIT O UR WABESITE https://www.stevecosson.com/plays

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THE END

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