The performance collective Nature Theater of Oklahoma has switched to film for the three new episodes of their long-term genre-bending project “Life and Times”.
Wed 20 & Thu 21/01/2016, Stadtkino Wien
A new era has dawned in the work of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma: although the New York Off-Off-Broadway company headed by Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska are present at this unique gala evening, the focus is on three film premieres. It all began on stage, with the life story of one of the company’s members, Kristin Worrall, transcribed from a sixteen-hour phone conversation which served as the foundation. We can now look forward to an evening, a grand narrative, a company, and three very different films. Some with a local reference even – Episode 9 is a zany gangsta rap video shot on roller-skates at last year’s steirischer herbst in Graz.
But before we get there, Episode 7 has to take its course: the company works within the conventions of old black-and-white Hollywood films, paying formal obeisance to Orson Welles’ film classic “Citizen Kane” as they restage the recorded life story in a completely different way – with nine actors playing the parts of more than one hundred characters. This episode also gives a newsreel-style recap of events so far.
Episode 8 is a visually impressive flick in the style of an early Cinemascope colour movie shot in the area around NYC and the Hudson River Valley. Sung throughout, the film once more develops new perspectives of Kristin’s life story. The whole thing comes to an equally unusual close – with Episode 9 condensing five years in the life of the protagonist into just seventeen minutes in the style of a rap video.
Direction, concept and screenplay Kelly Copper & Pavol Liska
From telephone conversations with Kristin Worrall
With Ilan Bachrach, Asli Bulbul, Elisabeth Conner Skaervold, Kelly Copper, Gabel Eiben, Daniel Gower, Robert M. Johanson, Dany Naierman, Peter Nigrini, Kristin Worrall et al.
Artistic management Dany Naierman
Camera Pavol Liska
Camera and design Peter Nigrini
Editor Kelly Copper
Composition & music Daniel Gower
Music Robert M. Johanson
Produced by Nature Theater of Oklahoma
Commissioned by and residence with Live Arts Bard at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College
Supported by King’s Fountain, FringeArts, The Wyncote Foundation & Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Programm
Residence with Live Arts Bard at the Richard B. Fischer Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College
Supported by Fondation d‘entreprise Hermès / New Settings & Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Programm
Co-produced by steirischer herbst & Nature Theater of Oklahoma
Supported by Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Programm
Production Roland Gfrerer
Nature Theater of Oklahoma (US)
In 2006, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper founded the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, in the meantime one of the most famous off-off Broadway groups in the USA. Following initial projects rooted in choreography, the “OK Theater” quickly evolved into a multimedia ensemble that moves effortlessly between classical theatre, comic and animation art as well as film. All of these elements are combined in its monumental work “Life and Times”, whose nine episodes break down the boundaries between fiction and real life. Both unsettling and intimate, the group’s art is always targeted at the full attention of the audience, challenging their perception of reality. In 2008 and 2013 they won the “Obie Award”. They have already appeared three times at steirischer herbst – most recently in 2014 with episodes 4.5, 5 and 6 of “Life and Times”. Its three-part continuation appears at steirischer herbst in 2015.