The Public Theater Presents Soho Rep's Production of Nature Theater Production of OK's 'LIFE AND TIMES', 1/16-2/2
The Public Theater announced today that it will present the Soho Rep production of the American premiere of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma's LIFE AND TIMES: Episodes 1-4 as a special engagement of the 2013 Under the Radar Festival. Conceived and directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, the epic serial saga LIFE AND TIMES will run January 16 through February 2, 2013. The 2013 Under the Radar Festival will run January 9 through 20, 2013 at The Public Theater at Astor Place, 425 Lafayette Street.
"Nature Theater of Oklahoma is one of the most brilliant and original theater groups to emerge in the western world in this millennium. We are delighted to give our audiences the first look at this amazing production," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis.
"Nature Theater of Oklahoma premiered some of their first works at Under the Radar and this humorous, poignant, and literally bouncing epic marks the homecoming of this thrilling company after four years of working overseas," said Under the Radar Producer Mark Russell. "Life and Times has joy, energy, and countless surprises that keep you on The Edge of your seat. Taken in parts or as a marathon it is a transformative theatrical experience."
"We are honored to be continuing our longstanding work with the company and collaborating for the first time with our friends at The Public," said Soho Rep Artistic Director Sarah Benson. "Together, we can make this monumental production a reality in New York."
Nature Theater of Oklahoma makes a triumphant homecoming with this bold, exuberant celebration of the most epic story of all: life. Conceived and directed by Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Artistic Directors, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, LIFE AND TIMES charts one normal person's account of their life, navigating a deep map of memory, from their earliest recollections through present day. The libretto of the work, which will ultimately comprise ten episodes, is a verbatim transcript of ten recorded phone conversations in which the person told their story. LIFE AND TIMES continues the exploration Nature Theater of Oklahoma has pursued since No Dice: using casual, real-life speech and storytelling as the text for innovative theatrical works, thereby making something extraordinary out of the ordinary.
The four episodes of LIFE AND TIMES being presented can be seen in installments or together as a "marathon": on different weeknights (exact days vary each week) at 7p.m., the company will perform Episode 1 (3.5 hours with intermission), Episode 2 (two hours with no intermission), and Episodes 3 & 4 (together, 3.5 hours with intermission). Then, on Saturday or Sunday (varies each week), the marathon (approximately 11 hours including a 30-minute snack break and a one-hour dinner break) is performed at 1p.m.
Member Tickets, priced at $25, for Episode 1, 2, or 3 & 4, or $60 for the full marathon, go on sale Thursday, November 1. Single tickets, priced at $30 for Episode 1, 2, or 3 & 4, or $70 for the full marathon, go on sale Tuesday, November 27. Tickets can be purchased at (212) 967-7555, www.publictheater.org, or in person at The Public Theater box office at 425 Lafayette Street.
LIFE AND TIMES, from a conversation with Kristin Worrall, features dramaturgy by Florian Malzacher, design by Peter Nigrini, and original music by Robert M. Johanson, Julie LaMendola,and Daniel Gower. The cast includes Ilan Bachrach, Elisabeth Conner, Gabel Eiben, Anne Gridley, Matthew Korahais, Julie LaMendola, Alison Weisgall, and Kristin Worrall.
Episodes 1-4 represent the first "movement" of the work; upcoming episodes will depart from the theater and take other forms, including a book, a film and a radio play. Episode 1, which starts with birth and continues to age 8, fuses communist musical and "mass games" rhythmic gymnastic spectacle. In Episode 2, which spans early adolescence, the company takes up the concept of the chorus and chorus line to represent the challenges of belonging to a social group. Episodes 3 and 4 encompass high school years, including the desire for freedom from home and family life. Experimentation, rebellion, and drug use collide with religion and metaphysics-both first love and first cigarettes. In order to unlock the considerable drama associated with this particular age, Nature Theater applies the dramatic conventions of a "locked-room" mystery play.
LIFE AND TIMES is a co-production of Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Burgtheater Wien. Episode 1 was created in co-production with 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. Episode 2 was created in co-production with Kampnagel Hamburg, le Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Kaaitheater Brussel, and Rosas. Episodes 3 & 4 were created in co-production with Internationales Sommerfestival Hamburg, Kaaitheater Brussel, Internationale Keuze Festival Rotterdamse Schouwburg, and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main GmbH. Funding support for Episode 1 provided by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Funding support for Episode 2 provided by and the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
NATURE THEATER OF OKLAHOMA is an OBIE-winning New York art and performance group under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. Since Poetics: a ballet brut, the company's first dance piece created as an ensemble, Nature Theater of Oklahoma has been devoted to making "the work we don't know how to make, putting ourselves in impossible situations, and working from out of our own ignorance and unease. We strive to create an unsettling live situation that demands total presence from everyone in the room. We use the ready-made material around us, found space, overheard speech, and observed gesture, and through extreme formal manipulation, and superhuman effort, we affect in our work a shift in the perception of everyday reality that extends beyond the site of performance and into the world in which we live." Nature Theater of Oklahoma's work has been seen in 23 countries and 46 cities around the world. They are the 2010 recipients of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award and the 2012 Ambassador's Award for Cultural Diplomacy from the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. For more information, visit www.oktheater.org.
UNDER THE RADAR at The Public Theater, now in its ninth year, is an explosively diverse festival of new theater from around the world and the U.S. that spotlights artists ranging from emerging talents to masters in the field. It offers a crash course in theater that is exciting, independent, and experimental, created by some of the most dynamic artists working today.
Founded in 1975, and in its theater on Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep built an outstanding reputation for being at the forefront of new and innovative theatre, serving as a vital center for Contemporary Theatre artists. Soho Rep is dedicated to cultivating and producing visionary, uncompromising, and exuberant new plays. They perform to one of the youngest adult audiences in New York City, with over three-quarters aged 18-40. Critics continue to herald Soho Rep as a go-to theatre destination for new and original works. New York Magazine has said, "this indispensable theater offers more excitement per chair than any space in town," Time Out New York says, "Soho Rep is the best theater in NYC (official)," Variety exclaims, "[Soho Rep] has claimed an increasingly vital spot...the venue has suddenly become one to watch for Manhattan theatergoers starved for new work," and The New York Times declares Soho Rep to be "The downtown powerhouse...regularly outclasses the work done on many of the city's larger stages." Over the last decade, Soho Rep productions have garnered thirteen OBIE Awards; six Drama Desk nominations, two Kesselring Awards for Melissa James Gibson and Mark Schultz and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc's Sixty Miles To Silverlake. In recent years, Soho Rep has presented plays by established and emerging theatre artists such as Annie Baker, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Kane, Daniel Alexander Jones, Debbie Tucker Green, Mac Wellman, Young Jean Lee, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma.
The revitalization of The Public Theater's downtown home at Astor Place will physically manifest the Company's core mission of sparking new dialogues and increasing accessibility for artists and audiences by dramatically opening up its landmark building to the street and community, and transforming the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students, and audiences. Designed by Ennead Architects and constructed by Westerman Construction, the project encompasses enhancements to the building's interior and exterior while preserving the historic structure. Key elements of the design include infrastructure updates to the 158-year old building, as well as construction of new exterior entry stair and glass canopy; installation of ramps for improved accessibility; an expanded and refurbished lobby; the addition of a mezzanine level with a new lounge, designed by the Rockwell Group; expansion and remodeling of restroom facilities; and comprehensive exterior restoration, ensuring stability of the landmark façade.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues-including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe's Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs. The Public's wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company's dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Public Theater is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. www.publictheater.org