by Robert Pacitti

In 1996 Robert Pacitti traveled to New York to meet and spend time with the author, raconteur and professional homosexual Quentin Crisp. Pacitti's ambition was to produce a new theatre work that took Mr. Crisp's infamous autobiography The Naked Civil Servant as its starting point. Civil is a response to Quentin Crisp's seminal book The Naked Civil Servant and explores issues of liberty and disobedience. The work explores notions of lineage, and becomes a process about letting go—of ownership, of origin, and ultimately of Quentin Crisp.

Wishing to explore issues around disobedience and liberty Robert Pacitti saw Quentin Crisp as a forerunner to many of the then queer/post-gay identities of the day. Mr. Crisp had always run the gauntlet of public disapproval and at the time of their meeting, Mr. Pacitti wrote of him "I have seen the face of a parent." Having returned to England, Mr. Pacitti set about editing the materials generated during his time in America: interviews with Mr. Crisp, Super 8 film, slide images, sound recordings and writings.

Civil premiered in Manchester in 1996, opening the Queer Up North Festival for that year. A cast of five performed the work. Almost three months later Mr. Pacitti performed the work again, overhauled and reworked as a solo piece for the Institute Of Contemporary Arts in London.

Commissioned by Its Queer Up North and launched their 1996 Festival. Funded by the Arts Council of England and The London Arts Board. Sponsored by Roland UK and the Believe Organisation. Made in New York, Manchester and London. Shown in the ICA as part of 'Textuality' Season in September 1996; The Now Festival, Nottingham 1996; Leibesvisitationen Festival Tafehalle, Nuremburg as part of Siemens (Munich) Cultural Program October 1997; Colchester Arts Centre March 1998; Ex-Teresa Festival, Mexico City October 1998 and Theater Arsenic Lausanne, Switzerland 1999

World premiere performances of Civil reworked and performed by Richard Eton at the Chelsea Theatre, London, 17 November 2005; at Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels, 23-24 November 2005; and at The Junction in Cambridge on 25 March 2006.

Photograph copyrighted © by Robert Pacitti and Company. All rights reserved.

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