THE UNDERTAKING /
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Steve Cosson
Conceived in collaboration with Jessica Mitrani
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 stories—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.
Dan Domingues — Steve and others
Dan Domingues is an associate artist with The Civilians. Work with the company includes The Undertaking (BAM/Theatre de la Ville in Paris; Another Word For Beauty (Goodman Theatre, NY Stage and Film); The Great Immensity (The Public, Kansas City Rep); Let Me Ascertain You (Joe’s Pub). Off-Broadway work includes Locusts Have No King (INTAR); Wild Goose Dreams, Fidelis (Public Theater); The Jammer, The Cherry Orchard (Atlantic Theater Company); To The Bone (Cherry Lane Theatre); Mother of Invention (Abingdon Theatre). Regional theatre highlights include Native Gardens (Guthrie/Arena Stage), Hound Of The Baskervilles (Hangar Theatre); It’s A Wonderful Life (Long Wharf); The Real Thing (Studio Theatre); Julius Caesar, A Christmas Carol (Portland Stage); When The Sun Shone Brighter (Florida Stage); Amadeus, Othello (Pioneer); Wit, Human Events (George Street Playhouse); Enrico IV (Rep Theatre of St. Louis). Film work includes the Warner Bros. feature Run All Night, independent films In Stereo and Future ’38, award-winning short Suffer The Little Children and web series West40s. On TV he’s recurred on The Blacklist and appeared on Law and Order and Royal Pains. He holds an MFA from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at ART/Harvard.
Aysan Celik — Lydia and others
Aysan Celik is an Associate Artist of The Civilians. Her work with the company includes: Paris Commune (BAM, The Public, La Jolla Playhouse, ArtsEmerson); This Beautiful City (Studio Theater); Let Me Ascertain You (Joe’s Pub); Be the Death of Me (Irondale); Canard, Canard, Goose? (HERE). Off-Broadway highlights: The Black Eyed (New York Theater Workshop); Faust (Target Margin/Classic Stage Company); Pericles (Red Bull/Culture Project); Turn of the Screw (Theater Row); Spinning the Times (59E59). Regional favorites: The Making of a Great Moment (Z Space, Merrimack Rep); Bob: A Life in Five Acts (Humana Festival); 9 Parts of Desire (Actors Theater of Louisville); Antigone (American Repertory Theater); King Stag (Barbican). With her company Theater Mitu, Aysan co-created and performed Juárez: A Documentary Mythology –tour included: Centro Cultural Paso Del Norte in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Mansion Arts Center in Beirut, Kontakt Festival in Torun, Poland, Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre, Teatro Memoria in Santiago de Chile, Encuentro Festival in Los Angeles, Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in El Paso, MASSMoCA, Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. She is a graduate of ART/ Harvard and an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU Abu Dhabi.
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†
Stage Manager: Geoff Boronda*
Assistant Stage Manager: Rachael Gass*
Production Manager: Ron Nilson
Producer: Margaret Moll
ADDITIONAL STAFF FOR THE UNDERTAKINGAssistant Set and Costume Designer: Blake Palmer
Interviews conducted by Steve Cosson, Jessica Mitrani, and Leonie Ettinger.
*appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association
†member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
Following a sold-out run at BAM’s 2016 Next Wave Festival and a New York Times’ Critics’ Pick, The Undertaking returns for a limited engagement from January 11th—February 4th at 59E59.
January 11th – February 4th
Tickets can be purchased here
PAST TOUR DATES
OnStage at Connecticut College in Palmer Auditorium
Saturday, September 17, 2016.
World premiere at the 2016 BAM Next Wave Festival
A co-presentation of BAM and Théâtre de la Ville (Paris, France)
September 21 - 25, 2016
BAM Fisher in the Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place Brooklyn, NY 11217.
Duke Performances at Duke University, Durham, NC in the Sheafer Lab Theater
September 29, 2016 - October 1, 2016.
Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, France
October 5 - 8, 2016.
Part of the BROOKLYN-PARIS EXCHANGE.
The Undertaking was created through developmental residencies at the Orchard Project, a program of The Exchange and the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.