Originally published Oct. 2019 by the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts.
LubDub Theatre Company’s “On The Lawn,” Created in Residency with Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program Students, Gets in the Weeds to Explore the Roots of the American Lawn
Using physical theater, music, and spectacle, the Nov. 7-16 production examines the relationship between ourselves, our neighbors, and our plants.
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Washington, DC — The American lawn sits at the intersection of eco-politics, cultural myth, and the physical idea of home. This uniquely American tradition is the focus of LubDub Theatre Company’s “On the Lawn,” workshopped and presented by the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies (TPST) Program Nov. 7-16, 2019 in the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre, located on GU’s main campus. A hybrid physical theatre troupe led by Co-Artistic Directors Georgetown alumna Caitlin Nasema Cassidy (C’11) and Geoff Kanick, New York City-based LubDub Theatre Company created the work about the history of the American lawn, its environmental impact, and its political economy with more than two dozen Georgetown students through an extensive fall 2019 residency hosted by TPST’s Home Season.
Continuing the season’s theme — Dreams of Crossing: Borders, Climates, Acts — this piece, programmed by founding Artistic Director Maya E. Roth, exemplifies how the season inventively engages with social concerns and theatrical models.
“On the Lawn,” a large-scale work-in-progress performance, invites audiences to spend a day in the life of the American lawn. Exploring the roots of this most peculiar American invention through songs, movement sequences, and vignettes—at once universal and deeply personal—the piece traces the lawn’s origins in early modern Europe’s “outdoor carpets,” through the development of the American suburb and the present-day eco-politics of “freedom lawns” and #droughtshaming. “On The Lawn” assembles performers and audience on common ground to examine the complex connections between ourselves, our neighbors, and our plants.
Co-director Caitlin Nasema Cassidy (C ’11) says, “‘LubDub is generating On The Lawn as part of our ongoing cycle of work in conversation with climate chaos. In dealing with such a complex global issue, we have been inspired by activists’ insistence that we get local–focusing on the issues in our own backyards. For us, that literally meant looking at lawns–complex ecological constructs that surround our homes, our institutions, our cities. We are digging into the history of lawns and are fascinated by their origins in American suburbia, their roots in early modern Europe, and their role as a focal point in contemporary conversations about climate.”
“On the Lawn” originated in a company devising lab in NYC in December 2018 and is being developed, in part, through a two-year residency with The Orchard Project’s NYC Greenhouse and the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. On The Lawn will have its world premiere Off-Broadway in 2021. For the Georgetown residency, alumna Cassidy and Co-director Kanick were joined by GU alumni and LubDub core members playwright Miranda Rose Hall (C’11) and dramaturg Robert Duffley (C’13).
Davis Performing Arts Center Artistic Director Prof. Maya E. Roth says, “This project epitomizes cross-generational collaboration and how bridging our communities at Georgetown can feed the field, undergraduate learning and public engagement all at once. It’s been such a joy to bring our alumni, professional guests, and TPST into deep collaboration with nearly two dozen students from across the university, working on themes urgent to our times; this inventive new work is furthering the Davis Center’s mission and our unique commitment to creative collaboration, social engagement and interdisciplinary research in Theater & Performance Studies Program.”