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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.