The work explores how the public receives information and gains knowledge in today's media and government-controlled culture. Among the interviews conducted in preparation for the piece: every Jessica Lynch in the phone book and a soldier guarding Penn Station.
The cast includes Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Matt Dellapina, Brad Heberlee, Daoud Heidami, Caitlin Miller and Jennifer R. More, with Andy Boroson on piano. Michael Friedman wrote the original songs.
Lunch is a substantially revised version of a work, written by The Civilians' artistic director Steve Cosson, which premiered at P.S. 122 Sept. 23-Oct. 17, 2004. The piece was the least-well-received offering by the critical darlings, The Civilians—a group which specializes in weaving new, off-kilter stage pieces from interviews with real people and existing journalistic, biographical and documentary materials.
The troupe responded by reworking Lunch, a process which culminated in a two-week workshop at the Sundance Theatre Lab in December 2005. The show's new full name is Nobody's Lunch (A cabaret about how we know what we know when nobody knows if everyone else is lying and when someone or something wants to have you for lunch). It contains mostly new text and two new songs.
The Civilians have garnered a significant amount of press and praise based on three shows. Following its inaugural effort Canard, Canard, Goose?, a "musical documentary" about what happens when The Civilians get wind of geese abuse on a film set in Long Lake, NY, came Gone Missing, a collection of stories about things lost and found, and The Ladies, which examined the lives of four dictator's wives, and the two women who chose to do a show about them. Tickets are $30. Call (212) 279-4200.