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Let Me Ascertain You: The Civilians Podcast

The Civilians

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Let Me Ascertain You: The Civilians Podcast

Let Me Ascertain You: The Civilians Podcast

The Civilians

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About Us

Let Me Ascertain You, from award-winning investigative theater company The Civilians, is a weekly podcast series of performances crafted from interviews with real people about current and controversial topics.

Latest Episodes

Flops, Failures, And Fiascos - Part II

EThis is the second episode of Let Me Ascertain You is drawn from “Flops, Failures and Fiascos,” an original cabaret that explored and celebrated disasters of all shades as told by those who have survived the shame, horror and glory of failing big. “Flops, Failures and Fiascos,” was curated by 2015-16 R&D Group directors Sanaz Ghajar and Colette Robert and featured interviews conducted by the Civilians’ Field Research Team. This episode features two original songs and a story about extra special flops that live on as spectacular stories Maria-Christina Oliveras performs “The Only Time,” written by Eric March about an extra bloody production of "Hamlet". Next, we hear Cindy Cheung perform “Lament for a Tuesday (or, Aftermath,” a song written by Sam Chanse and Christopher Larkin that tells the tale of a Tinder date gone spectacularly wrong. Finally, the episode closes with Nic Cory portraying Michael R., a theater critic whose sharp tongued response to a production of "Fiddler...

18 MIN2016 SEP 2
Comments
Flops, Failures, And Fiascos - Part II

Flops, Failures, And Fiascos, Part I

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain You is drawn from Flops, Failures and Fiascos, an original cabaret that explored and celebrated disasters of all shades as told by those who have survived the shame, horror and glory of failing big.Flops, Failures and Fiascoswas curated by 2015-16 R&D Group directors Sanaz Ghajar andColette Robert and featured interviews conducted by the Civilians’ Field Research Team. In this episode we hear two original songs and a pair of intertwined monologues all surrounding epic fails. First, Jen Kwok, Ally Bonino, Cindy Cheung, Nic Cory and Alex Grubbs perform “Go For It,” written by Adam Cochran, Jo Lampert and Matthew Marsh. Next, we hear Ally Bonino sing “Lost and Found,” written by Julia Meinwald and Gordon Leary. This original song draws upon an interview with a woman who flirts with disaster, but makes it by with a little help from her friends. Finally, the episode closes with Maria-Christina Oliveras and Chris Tyler portraying guests at two differe...

20 MIN2016 JUL 29
Comments
Flops, Failures, And Fiascos, Part I

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part III

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the third and final installation of “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes song crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, Kyle Beltran performs an original song by Michael Friedman, "John Brown," inspired by Thomas Hovenden’s painting "The Last Moments of John Brown." The song is introduced by Cindy Cheung, playing a museum curator. Next, Grace McLean performs her original song "Obsessed by Madame X," inspired by a filmmaker’s reaction to John Singer Sargent’s "Portrait of Madame X." Finally, Ty Defoe and the company of “The Way They Live” perform Ty's "In All Directions...

22 MIN2016 MAR 7
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part III

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part II

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the second of three culled from “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes monologues and a song crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, Jennifer Morris and Irene Lucio portray two women on the curatorial staff of the American wing, talking about Mary Cassatt's "Portrait of the Artist." Next, Morris--still portraying a Met Museum curator--introduces Winslow Homer's painting "Dressing for Carnival." April Matthis then plays a visitor to the museum who responds to the piece. She sings a song called "Never" by Kirsten Childs. Finally, actor Cindy Cheung plays a museum technician t...

15 MIN2016 FEB 1
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part II

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part I

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the first of three culled from “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes monologues and songs crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, actor Jennifer Morris portrays a curator discussing the Tiffany Magnolia Vase. Then, Cindy Chung performs the song “What He Saw,” by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato Kremida, about one visitor’s conflicted reaction to the vase. Next, Irene Lucio portrays the Wing’s new Latin America curator, who discusses special objects in the Wing and introduces composer Rona Siddiqui’s song “To Sleep with the Dogs,” performed by Jordan Barbour and Sarah F...

17 MIN2015 NOV 23
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part I

Live at The Met Museum: Beauty, Love, Body

EFor this episode of Let Me Ascertain You, we bring you back to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where The Civilians are artists in residence. As part of our research, we were wandering through some of the museum's halls like the Petrie Court, looking at nude sculptures that fill that space, like Jacques Sarazin’s gentle Leda and the Swan and Antonio Canova’s indifferent Paris. Surrounded by such a rich history of the representation of the human form, we questioned how the human body and what we find beautiful have changed through time. In our last podcast, we brought you some of our interviews with Met curators who spoke about these dynamic human representations. For this episode, we've gathered other conversations from the past couple of years that also examine these intertwining themes of beauty, love, and the body. First, Jeanine Serralles brings us to the El Buen Pastor Women’s Prison with Ana Yolanda, a contestant in the prison’s annual beauty pageant. Nedra McClyde ...

21 MIN2015 NOV 23
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: Beauty, Love, Body

Live at The Met Museum: Curators and the Objects They Love

EOn this special podcast, we're back inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, investigating within the halls and installations of this iconic museum. Focusing on beauty, sex, love, and the body for this Let Me Ascertain You episode, we asked the curators to speak on these topics in relation to the artworks and share the compelling histories behind them. This past September, we turned their interviews into monologues and songs, which we then performed in the Petrie Court Cafe at the Museum itself. First up, we have David Cale performing an interview we did with Luke, a curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Then, Daniel Jenkins performs our interview with James, another curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. And finally, Michael Friedman performs an original song that he wrote and performed called “Like a Virgin” based on an interview with Melanie, a curator of Medieval Art. This marked the first of three performances we'll have throughout our Met r...

23 MIN2015 MAR 5
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: Curators and the Objects They Love

Live at The Met Museum: The Civilians Tackle The Other Hollywood

EWhat you’re about to hear has been workshopped and presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of The Civilians' artist residency. The performances come from interviews we did during our investigation for our upcoming musical, “Pretty Filthy,” about the ‘Other Hollywood’ in the San Fernando Valley...porn capital of the world. We went behind-the-scenes and interviewed countless directors, porn stars, agents and beyond. “Pretty Filthy” goes up at Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side in New York City on Jan. 31st. Here’s a look at some of the interviews that didn't make it into that musical but were too good not to share. First we have Damian Baldet as a famous porn director, Keith. Then, Jeanine Serralles performs the legendary porn star Ginger Lynn and Jennifer Morris performs porn star Tabitha Stephens. To close, Heidi Blickenstaff performs an original song written by Michael Friedman that will appear in "Pretty Filthy," called ‘Beautiful.’ Learn more about Th...

22 MIN2015 FEB 6
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: The Civilians Tackle The Other Hollywood

F*ing & Dying: Love/Sex/Reproduction

EWelcome to the final episode of our Let Me Ascertain You series on sex and death. According to Freud, the death drive is the drive towards self-destruction and the return to the "inorganic." Eros on the other hand is the drive to create and be productive. This episode explores these often competing drives. First up we have the original song “We Could Always Try Counting Sheep!” written and performed by Andrea Grody based on an interview about “sexomina.” Then Cindy Cheung performs an interview we did with Doan about sex and love addiction. And to close this episode out we have César Alvarez performing a lullaby he wrote for his daughter called “The Year of Dying.” We want to thank all of the interviewees, and the actors and composers who worked very hard to bring these stories to life. Many thanks to the Civilians' team of interviewers: Quinlan Corbett, Ian Daniel, Amina Henry, Michelle Jalowski, Leicester Landon, Gina Ratton, and Benjamin Viertel. Michael Liebenluft was our ...

--2014 AUG 6
Comments
F*ing & Dying: Love/Sex/Reproduction

F*ing & Dying: The Brink

ELet Me Ascertain You is back with the third episode in our series about all things sex and death related. In this episode we are leaning towards the sex side of the sex and death equation, looking at those elements of life that in one context might seem unpleasant or downright awful, but in another context can be well, kind of sexy. First, Dan Domingues performs an interview we did with Peter, a man who recounts how bondage became a path to self-discovery, and then Rebecca Hart performs Emily, a woman who dated a sometimes hit-man who taught her her how to strangle people without leaving any marks. To close out this episode we have special guest Adam Cochran accompanying himself on guitar with a song by writing team Erato Kremmyda and Maggie-Kate Coleman. Erato and Maggie-Kate are both members in our R & D Group for writers, directors and composers. “I Don’t Want To Know Your Name” is based on interviews about “terror and catastrophe sex,” a phenomenon where cataclysmic events ...

--2014 JUL 23
Comments
F*ing & Dying: The Brink

Latest Episodes

Flops, Failures, And Fiascos - Part II

EThis is the second episode of Let Me Ascertain You is drawn from “Flops, Failures and Fiascos,” an original cabaret that explored and celebrated disasters of all shades as told by those who have survived the shame, horror and glory of failing big. “Flops, Failures and Fiascos,” was curated by 2015-16 R&D Group directors Sanaz Ghajar and Colette Robert and featured interviews conducted by the Civilians’ Field Research Team. This episode features two original songs and a story about extra special flops that live on as spectacular stories Maria-Christina Oliveras performs “The Only Time,” written by Eric March about an extra bloody production of "Hamlet". Next, we hear Cindy Cheung perform “Lament for a Tuesday (or, Aftermath,” a song written by Sam Chanse and Christopher Larkin that tells the tale of a Tinder date gone spectacularly wrong. Finally, the episode closes with Nic Cory portraying Michael R., a theater critic whose sharp tongued response to a production of "Fiddler...

18 MIN2016 SEP 2
Comments
Flops, Failures, And Fiascos - Part II

Flops, Failures, And Fiascos, Part I

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain You is drawn from Flops, Failures and Fiascos, an original cabaret that explored and celebrated disasters of all shades as told by those who have survived the shame, horror and glory of failing big.Flops, Failures and Fiascoswas curated by 2015-16 R&D Group directors Sanaz Ghajar andColette Robert and featured interviews conducted by the Civilians’ Field Research Team. In this episode we hear two original songs and a pair of intertwined monologues all surrounding epic fails. First, Jen Kwok, Ally Bonino, Cindy Cheung, Nic Cory and Alex Grubbs perform “Go For It,” written by Adam Cochran, Jo Lampert and Matthew Marsh. Next, we hear Ally Bonino sing “Lost and Found,” written by Julia Meinwald and Gordon Leary. This original song draws upon an interview with a woman who flirts with disaster, but makes it by with a little help from her friends. Finally, the episode closes with Maria-Christina Oliveras and Chris Tyler portraying guests at two differe...

20 MIN2016 JUL 29
Comments
Flops, Failures, And Fiascos, Part I

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part III

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the third and final installation of “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes song crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, Kyle Beltran performs an original song by Michael Friedman, "John Brown," inspired by Thomas Hovenden’s painting "The Last Moments of John Brown." The song is introduced by Cindy Cheung, playing a museum curator. Next, Grace McLean performs her original song "Obsessed by Madame X," inspired by a filmmaker’s reaction to John Singer Sargent’s "Portrait of Madame X." Finally, Ty Defoe and the company of “The Way They Live” perform Ty's "In All Directions...

22 MIN2016 MAR 7
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part III

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part II

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the second of three culled from “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes monologues and a song crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, Jennifer Morris and Irene Lucio portray two women on the curatorial staff of the American wing, talking about Mary Cassatt's "Portrait of the Artist." Next, Morris--still portraying a Met Museum curator--introduces Winslow Homer's painting "Dressing for Carnival." April Matthis then plays a visitor to the museum who responds to the piece. She sings a song called "Never" by Kirsten Childs. Finally, actor Cindy Cheung plays a museum technician t...

15 MIN2016 FEB 1
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part II

Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part I

EThis episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the first of three culled from “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015. This episode includes monologues and songs crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing. First up, actor Jennifer Morris portrays a curator discussing the Tiffany Magnolia Vase. Then, Cindy Chung performs the song “What He Saw,” by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato Kremida, about one visitor’s conflicted reaction to the vase. Next, Irene Lucio portrays the Wing’s new Latin America curator, who discusses special objects in the Wing and introduces composer Rona Siddiqui’s song “To Sleep with the Dogs,” performed by Jordan Barbour and Sarah F...

17 MIN2015 NOV 23
Comments
Live at the Met Museum: The Way They Live, Part I

Live at The Met Museum: Beauty, Love, Body

EFor this episode of Let Me Ascertain You, we bring you back to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where The Civilians are artists in residence. As part of our research, we were wandering through some of the museum's halls like the Petrie Court, looking at nude sculptures that fill that space, like Jacques Sarazin’s gentle Leda and the Swan and Antonio Canova’s indifferent Paris. Surrounded by such a rich history of the representation of the human form, we questioned how the human body and what we find beautiful have changed through time. In our last podcast, we brought you some of our interviews with Met curators who spoke about these dynamic human representations. For this episode, we've gathered other conversations from the past couple of years that also examine these intertwining themes of beauty, love, and the body. First, Jeanine Serralles brings us to the El Buen Pastor Women’s Prison with Ana Yolanda, a contestant in the prison’s annual beauty pageant. Nedra McClyde ...

21 MIN2015 NOV 23
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: Beauty, Love, Body

Live at The Met Museum: Curators and the Objects They Love

EOn this special podcast, we're back inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, investigating within the halls and installations of this iconic museum. Focusing on beauty, sex, love, and the body for this Let Me Ascertain You episode, we asked the curators to speak on these topics in relation to the artworks and share the compelling histories behind them. This past September, we turned their interviews into monologues and songs, which we then performed in the Petrie Court Cafe at the Museum itself. First up, we have David Cale performing an interview we did with Luke, a curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Then, Daniel Jenkins performs our interview with James, another curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. And finally, Michael Friedman performs an original song that he wrote and performed called “Like a Virgin” based on an interview with Melanie, a curator of Medieval Art. This marked the first of three performances we'll have throughout our Met r...

23 MIN2015 MAR 5
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: Curators and the Objects They Love

Live at The Met Museum: The Civilians Tackle The Other Hollywood

EWhat you’re about to hear has been workshopped and presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of The Civilians' artist residency. The performances come from interviews we did during our investigation for our upcoming musical, “Pretty Filthy,” about the ‘Other Hollywood’ in the San Fernando Valley...porn capital of the world. We went behind-the-scenes and interviewed countless directors, porn stars, agents and beyond. “Pretty Filthy” goes up at Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side in New York City on Jan. 31st. Here’s a look at some of the interviews that didn't make it into that musical but were too good not to share. First we have Damian Baldet as a famous porn director, Keith. Then, Jeanine Serralles performs the legendary porn star Ginger Lynn and Jennifer Morris performs porn star Tabitha Stephens. To close, Heidi Blickenstaff performs an original song written by Michael Friedman that will appear in "Pretty Filthy," called ‘Beautiful.’ Learn more about Th...

22 MIN2015 FEB 6
Comments
Live at The Met Museum: The Civilians Tackle The Other Hollywood

F*ing & Dying: Love/Sex/Reproduction

EWelcome to the final episode of our Let Me Ascertain You series on sex and death. According to Freud, the death drive is the drive towards self-destruction and the return to the "inorganic." Eros on the other hand is the drive to create and be productive. This episode explores these often competing drives. First up we have the original song “We Could Always Try Counting Sheep!” written and performed by Andrea Grody based on an interview about “sexomina.” Then Cindy Cheung performs an interview we did with Doan about sex and love addiction. And to close this episode out we have César Alvarez performing a lullaby he wrote for his daughter called “The Year of Dying.” We want to thank all of the interviewees, and the actors and composers who worked very hard to bring these stories to life. Many thanks to the Civilians' team of interviewers: Quinlan Corbett, Ian Daniel, Amina Henry, Michelle Jalowski, Leicester Landon, Gina Ratton, and Benjamin Viertel. Michael Liebenluft was our ...

--2014 AUG 6
Comments
F*ing & Dying: Love/Sex/Reproduction

F*ing & Dying: The Brink

ELet Me Ascertain You is back with the third episode in our series about all things sex and death related. In this episode we are leaning towards the sex side of the sex and death equation, looking at those elements of life that in one context might seem unpleasant or downright awful, but in another context can be well, kind of sexy. First, Dan Domingues performs an interview we did with Peter, a man who recounts how bondage became a path to self-discovery, and then Rebecca Hart performs Emily, a woman who dated a sometimes hit-man who taught her her how to strangle people without leaving any marks. To close out this episode we have special guest Adam Cochran accompanying himself on guitar with a song by writing team Erato Kremmyda and Maggie-Kate Coleman. Erato and Maggie-Kate are both members in our R & D Group for writers, directors and composers. “I Don’t Want To Know Your Name” is based on interviews about “terror and catastrophe sex,” a phenomenon where cataclysmic events ...

--2014 JUL 23
Comments
F*ing & Dying: The Brink
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