Life and Times Episode I

(Nature Theater of Oklahoma)

> Intro

Nature Theater of Oklahoma is definitely one of the most important contemporary theatre troupes in the United States that has in recent years successfully taken the stages of Europe’s major theatres and festivals by storm. Their very humorous, distinct, musical, energetic style that focuses on the actors has inspired admiration in the New York Times (NTO is the most talked about avant garde theatre in New York. Its freedom-loving spirit and old-fashioned artistry are meant to entertain), the Village Voice (NTO is the most important alternative theatre troupe in New York), and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (We arrive at the best part of ourselves: primeval feelings). We had to work hard to bring their mad, witty, warm and very inspirational Life and Times – Episode I to Estonia, but we also needed a lot of luck. And we really got lucky. Obscenely lucky.

NTO mostly uses dialogues that take place between so called ordinary people in creating its plays, and Life and Times is no exception. It is based on ten telephone conversations that lasted 16 hours in total and during which a very punk old person told his life story. This was so terribly engaging that NTO decided to produce a ten-part series of plays, of which the first two parts have been completed by now. Episode I focuses on…the first episodes, in other words childhood. That person reaches the age of eight during this play.

Like the authors themselves say, traditional, clear-cut narrative did not interest them. Instead, what interested them was weaving a unique spider web: the wanderings and quests of an ordinary person out of which emerge those fragments of memory and faces of partially forgotten friends that make a person who he is. The doll you could not bear to be without. The neighbour whose house was better looking than yours. The father who was mysteriously quiet. The friend whose mother allowed you to be up all night. The grandmother who served tea with honey in quality Chinese cups. The sister who never wore shoes…

NTO operates under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, and their motto is to stage plays that they do not know how to stage. It is, of course, hard to come up with a more engaging motto for a theatre.

This really is a play that you want to see because as the legendary periodical Bomb already wrote in its recent cover story: “NTO is one of the best troupes in the world. Their productions are peculiar and do not resemble anything that you have ever seen before. It could evidently be said that it belongs to the category of “experimental theatre” but regardless of the dubious meanings of this concept, it is very entertaining and moving, and there is nothing excessively pretentious.”

Supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment

> Duration

Approximately 3,5 hours with one intermission

> Time

N 09/06 19:00

> Language

in English with Estonian subtitles

> People

Consept and directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper
Based on a telephone conversation with Kristin Worrall
Music by Robert M. Johanson
Design by Peter Nigrini
Actors Ilan Bachrach, Gabel Eiben, Anne Gridley, Matthew Korahais, Julie Lamendola & Alison Weisgall
Dance Captain /prompter Elisabeth Conner
Musicians Robert M. Johanson, Kristin Worrall & Daniel Gower
Dramaturgy by Florian Malzacher
Production manager Kelly Shaffer
Sound engineer Mark Kleinfelder

A production of Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Burgtheater Wien
Co-produced by: 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.

With the support of The MAP Fund, a programme of Creative Capital, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation

> Press

Nature Theater of Oklahoma
We Want People to Eat More Vegetables
More Work, More Pleasure
America, Where Are You?

> Links

Nature Theatre of Oklahoma