The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) will present the Soho Rep production of the American premiere of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma's LIFE AND TIMES: Episodes 1-4 beginning on Wednesday, January 16. Conceived and directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, the epic serial saga LIFE AND TIMES will run through February 2, 2013 at The Public Theater at Astor Place.
The production is being presented as a special engagement of the 2013 Under the Radar Festival, currently running at The Public through January 20. The Library at The Public will also be open nightly during LIFE AND TIMES for food and drink, beginning at 5:30 p.m., and Joe's Pub will continue to offer some of the best music in the city.
Nature Theater of Oklahoma makes a triumphant homecoming with this bold, exuberant celebration of the most epic story of all: life. Conceived and directed by Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Artistic Directors, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, LIFE AND TIMES charts one normal person's account of their life, navigating a deep map of memory, from their earliest recollections through present day. The libretto of the work, which will ultimately comprise ten episodes, is a verbatim transcript of ten recorded phone conversations in which the person told their story. LIFE AND TIMES continues the exploration Nature Theater of Oklahoma has pursued since No Dice: using casual, real-life speech and storytelling as the text for innovative theatrical works, thereby making something extraordinary out of the ordinary.
The four episodes of LIFE AND TIMES being presented can be seen in installments or together as a "marathon": on different weeknights (exact days vary each week) at 7:30 p.m., the company will perform Episode 1 (2.5 hours with intermission), Episode 2 (two hours with no intermission), and Episodes 3 & 4 (together, 3.5 hours with intermission). Then, on Saturday or Sunday (varies each week), the marathon (approximately 10.5 hours including a 45-minute snack break and a one-hour dinner break) is performed at 2 p.m.
Member Tickets, priced at $25, for Episode 1, 2, or 3 & 4, or $60 for the full marathon, and single tickets, priced at $30 for Episode 1, 2, or 3 & 4, or $70 for the full marathon, are on sale now. For marathon performances only, the dinner break will be catered by Katz's Deli and will include free hot dogs, spinach knish, sauerkraut, and chili served by Nature Theater of Oklahoma company members. The snack breaks will include dessert and hot chocolate. All food is included in the price of admission to marathon performances. Tickets can be purchased at (212) 967-7555, www.publictheater.org, or in person at The Public Theater box office at 425 Lafayette Street.
LIFE AND TIMES, from a conversation with Kristin Worrall, features dramaturgy by Florian Malzacher, design by Peter Nigrini, and original music by Robert M. Johanson, Julie LaMendola,and Daniel Gower. The cast includes Ilan Bachrach, Elisabeth Conner, Gabel Eiben, Anne Gridley, Matthew Korahais, Julie LaMendola, Alison Weisgall, and Kristin Worrall.
Episodes 1-4 represent the first "movement" of the work; upcoming episodes will depart from the theater and take other forms, including a book, a film, and a radio play. Episode 1, which starts with birth and continues to age 8, fuses communist musical and "mass games" rhythmic gymnastic spectacle. In Episode 2, which spans early adolescence, the company takes up the concept of the chorus and chorus line to represent the challenges of belonging to a social group. Episodes 3 and 4 encompass high school years, including the desire for freedom from home and family life. Experimentation, rebellion, and drug use collide with religion and metaphysics-both first love and first cigarettes. In order to unlock the considerable drama associated with this particular age, Nature Theater applies the dramatic conventions of a "locked-room" mystery play.
LIFE AND TIMES is a co-production of Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Burgtheater Wien. Episode 1 was created in co-production with Internationales Sommerfestival Hamburg, Kaaitheater Brussel, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Internationale Keuze Festival Rotterdamse Schouwburg, and the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University. Episode 2 was created in co-production with Kampnagel Hamburg, le Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Kaaitheater Brussel, and Rosas. Episodes 3 & 4 were created in co-production with Internationales Sommerfestival Hamburg, Kaaitheater Brussel, Internationale Keuze Festival Rotterdamse Schouwburg, and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main GmbH. Funding support for Episode 1 provided by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Funding support for Episode 2 provided by and the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.