Audience is ‘part of the equation’ in ‘Life and Times: Episodes 1-5′

Anne Gridley and Gabel Eiben star in Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Fringe Festival show.  Credit: Reinhard Werner
Anne Gridley and Gabel Eiben star in Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Fringe Festival show.
Credit: Reinhard Werner

When Pavol Liska asked Kristin Worrall, a member of his theater company, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, to tell him her life story, he expected the conversation to last a couple of hours. He’d undertaken similar projects in the past, asking acquaintances to recall the stories of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Rambo,” which he then transcribed and turned into offbeat theater pieces. But Worrall proceeded to stretch her 34 years over 10 phone calls lasting more than 16 hours.

The resulting pieces, “Life and Times: Episodes 1-5,” will be staged by Nature Theater of Oklahoma (which, seven years after the conversations were recorded, still counts Worrall as a member) as part of this year’s Fringe Festival in a single marathon 12 ½-hour performance – and it’s still only half finished. (For those of a weaker constitution, the episodes will also be performed individually over the preceding four evenings.)

By creating a show of such a monumental duration, Liska says, “the primary drama happens in the performance itself. The drama is an actual drama rather than a fictional drama that’s in the story. The audience is able to witness the fatigue and decay on stage while they experience their own fatigue and decay. The responsibility for entertaining them goes away after a while; there’s nothing I could possibly make that would keep everybody entertained for 12 1/2 hours, and I hope people don’t expect that.”

The staggering length of the play is ameliorated by the fact that each of the five episodes is rendered as a completely different genre, from a musical to a locked-room mystery to an animated film and even an illustrated manuscript distributed to the audience. And the company also serves food during the breaks – barbecue after episode one, and hot chocolate to send everyone home happy.

“Making hamburgers is just as important to us as choreography,” Liska says. “For us, making theater is a social event. It’s not just about the art. We’re inviting people to come and have this experience with us. You get to know your neighbor in the seat next to you, get to know their reactions and what they’re experiencing and realize it’s different from yours. It’s very important that the audience understands that we think of them as an important part of the equation.”

“Life and Times: Episodes 1-5″
Sept. 10-14, 7 p.m. (12 1/2-hour marathon Sept. 14, 1:30 p.m.)
Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.
$35 for individual shows, $65 for marathon, 215-413-1318
www.fringearts.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.