LET ME ASCERTAIN YOU  / Cabaret Series

Let Me Ascertain You is The Civilians cabaret and podcast series. Cabarets are presented quarterly in New York. Click HERE for video of past shows!

All of these special one-evening-only presentations are audio-recorded for our podcast series. Subscribe on iTunes for FREE HERE!

Click HERE for blog posts about past cabarets!

Let Me Ascertain You: F*cking & Dying Saturday, May 17, 7PM
Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan
Get tickets HERE!

Anyone familiar with our work knows that we're are a bit obsessed with sex and death. This one-night event will explore what happens when those fixations collide. Drawing inspiration from their past investigations into the porn industry, sexual deviancy, and dying and the afterlife, our team digs even deeper to get people to open up about life's most carnal yet taboo topics.

This unique cabaret of original songs and monologues looks at the duality of human nature and our competing sex and death drives, or to get Freudian, Eros vs. Thanatos. We present real-life stories about our instinct for life, love, and reproduction against our instinct toward death, aggression, and repulsion. Hear some of New York's hottest downtown performers and musicians reveal tales of morbid curiosities and dirty secrets on the path to nirvana.

Let Me Ascertain You: Holy Matrimony!

Our 2013/2014 season of cabarets opens with Let Me Ascertain You: Holy Matrimony! In the aftermath of the defeat of DOMA, we delve into the meaning of marriage and how we choose to celebrate it. This unique evening explores the surprising, shocking, hilarious, and touching sides of weddings in America. The Civilians talk to real-life couples and wedding guests, and go behind-the-scenes of the wedding industry to collect the most astounding wedding stories in America.

At Joe's Pub on November 12th at 7:00 pm, this one-night-only performance of monologues and songs in The Civilians' entertaining and thought-provoking style will expose the fiascos and triumphs in American weddings!

Let Me Ascertain You: LGBTQ All Out!

The final Let Me Ascertain You of this season on April 29, 2013 at Joe's Pub explored some unique and compelling stories of those who have battled for, celebrated, and championed their sexual orientation and gender identity. The show offered a glimpse into the personal stories, struggles and triumphs of a group of individuals in the LGBTQ community. Exploring equality, marriage, family, coming out, social stigmas, and homophobia, the evening celebrated stories as diverse as a teenage lesbian shunned by her Jehovah's Witness community, a master domination top who locks people up in his basement, a gay military soldier who attempted suicide, and the life of homeless gay youth on the streets of New York City.

"You cannot have a conversation about homosexuality without a conversation about masturbation. They (the Jehovah's Witnesses) lump them together."

"I was with a very experienced bottom and I had him strapped to a table, and I was shocking him with a cattle prod... he broke the restraints three times."

Don't miss this performance of monologues and songs staged from interviews in The Civilians' entertaining and thought-provoking style.

Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17

September 17, 2012
Joe's Pub

This special evening focused on the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, which began with a large-scale protest on September 17, 2011. The cabaret featured interviews conducted by Civilians artists throughout the past year exploring how this dynamic call to action has evolved and what the future holds. This was a national event where various groups across the country and world will also gather to share in the storytelling of this historic movement.

Check out the podcast episodes of this performance: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Performers: Quincy Tyler Bernstine, David Cale, Kathleen Chalfant, Matt Dellapina, Dan Domingues, Brad Heberlee, Billy Eugene Jones, Emily Rossell, Jordan Mahome, Jennifer R. Morris, Maria Elena Ramirez, and Colleen Werthmann

The evening's music included songs by Michael Friedman, plus performances by singer/songwriter Jill Sobule; a punk band with Caitlin Montclare, Alex Nolan, Amanda Ruzza, Liz Kelly; singer/songwriter MaryKate O’Neil; and Pistolera with Sandra Velasquez & Maria Elena.

Participants in the national event included:
Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, TX
THE-TREE Institute in Portland, OR
HartBeat Ensemble in Hartford, CT
Theatre4 in New Haven, CT
Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, CT
Bated Breath Theatre Company in Hartford, CT
ARTFARM in Middletown, CT
Capital Classics Theatre Company in Hartford, CT
Jacques Lamarre in Hartford, CT
University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH
Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY
Emerson College in Boston, MA
Company One/Boston Center for the Arts

Check out the project in The New York Times and The Nation!

Check out this clip from our last Occupy cabaret!

Click HERE for more cabaret videos and HERE for lots more Occupy videos!

Let Me Ascertain You: Bogotá

This special evening explored the annual beauty pageant that takes place in El Buen Pastor, the national women’s prison in Bogotá, Colombia. The never-before-seen performance material was crafted from interviews conducted by Civilians artists on-site in the prison with inmates who include members of the paramilitary, guerrilla fighters, drug smugglers and more. The pageant, comprised of an evening gown competition, folk-dancing and floats built from recycled materials, is a recent innovation in the prison system that demonstrates increasing support of rehabilitation for the incarcerated. The evening provided a unique glimpse into life in a women’s prison and hear the personal stories behind the ongoing political struggles and warfare that the country continues to face. The performance was on June 13, 2012 at 92YTribeca.

Check out the podcast episodes of this performance: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

See photos from last year's pageant on Flickr!

Let Me Ascertain You: Death

The Civilians’ artists entered some surprising and dark territory and came back to share their enlightening tales of death, near-death experiences, corpses, and insights into forensic anthropology. The evening included performances of interviews from hospitals, prisons, spiritual communities, and funeral homes along with material from Associate Artist Alix Lambert’s investigation into the Body Farm: a facility for study of the decomposition of human bodies and research site for criminal investigations. The evening at Joe's Pub on May 18, 2012 showcased monologues, original songs, and murder ballads by Michael Friedman and Shaina Taub in our unique style created from this unusual interview material.

Check out the podcast episodes of this performance: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Let Me Ascertain You:
Occupy Wall Street, Part II

This was our second cabaret crafted from interviews about Occupy Wall Street. Our artists have been talking to people at the OWS Library, General Assembly meetings, and actions. This second evening will take an in-depth look at the beginnings of the movement through to the massive police action clearing the protesters from Zuccotti Park and examine the big question of what is in store for the movement in the future. The evening was presented at Joe's Pub on January 13, 2012.

Check out the podcast episodes of this performance: Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Let Me Ascertain You:
Occupy Wall Street

"The 80-minute show was the most moving work of theater
I have seen all season." — The Faster Times

Check out Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy Wall Street, Part I in:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Wall Street Journal

This performance of monologues and songs crafted from interviews in The Civilians' unique style gives voice to the people and examines this current exercise of democracy that will leave its mark our nation's history. The Civilians' artists are downtown talking to the 99% about the current demonstrations, our government, the economy, and the future. The artists' research and interviews reveal the thought-provoking and unexpected, the infuriating and hilarious, the communal and the personal stories of the large and ongoing display of discontent that is Occupy Wall Street. The evening was presented live at Joe's Pub on October 28, 2011.

Here are the podcast episodes of this performance: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. And we hope you'll subscribe for free on iTunes HERE!

Watch video from the shows!

Occupy Wall Street, Part II Performed on January 13, 2012 at Joe's Pub

Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com
Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com
Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com

Occupy Wall Street, Part I Performed on October 28, 2011 at Joe's Pub

Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com

Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com

Watch live streaming video from joespub at livestream.com