Featured Long Durational Work
Life and Times (2009 — Ongoing), Nature Theatre of Oklahoma
Duration: Predicted Eight Years
Cover photograph by Reinhard Werner
"Life and Times" (2009 — Ongoing) is a planned ten-episode project created by Nature Theatre of Oklahoma. The ongoing development of the theatre performance started when director Pavol Liška asked company member Kristin Worrall one simple question: “Can you tell me your life story?” Worrall proceeded to respond in great detail through 16 hours of recorded phone conversations which were then transcribed. Music and choreography was added and the production was created.
"Life and Times" is divided into ten episodes, each episode corresponding to a separate phone call. “Episode 1” starts with birth and goes to age eight. “Episode 2” depicts roughly ages 8 to 14. “Episode 3” and “Episode 4” tell the story of Worall’s life from ages 14 to 18. Although the directors Pavol Liška and Kelly Copper do edit some of the material (such as changing some of the names), they have committed to presenting the transcribed story as is. They explain that although the production is based around just one person’s life, her life is relatable enough so as to be anyone’s story. Each episode is about two hours long and, in many cases, the theatre has performed one episode after another for hours at a time.
The company challenges their performers by giving each episode a different formal structure. For “Episode 1,” they work within the form of music/opera, for “Episode 2” they work with dance, and for “Episodes 3 & 4” they take on theatre and the genre of locked-room murder mystery. “Episodes 4.5 and 5” explore drawing, painting, animated film, and book arts. Currently, the 14 members of the company have produced and performed five of the ten episodes of “Life and Times.” From October to November of 2012, the collective was was in residency at Mousonturm in Germany, where they performed “Episodes 2, 3 and 4” consecutively, each for 11 hours per day. The expected year for the completion of the project is 2017.