BWW Interviews: Nature Theatre Of Oklahoma's Kristin Worrell
The critically acclaimed New York Theatre Company Nature Theater of Oklahoma will be making their eagerly anticipated UK debut at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival this May. Featuring the world premiere of a brand new episode, commissioned by the Festival, Life and Times Episodes 1-5 will be performed on four separate evenings from 21 - 25 May. Alternatively, this ambitious event can be experienced in one twelve-hour Saturday Marathon which includes a barbeque cooked by the cast.
Conceived and Directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, from a telephone conversation with Kristin Worrall, Life and Times: Episodes 1 - 5 is an epic portrait of an unremarkable life, generated from one single, simple question to a friend: "can you tell me your life story?"
We talk to Kristin and ask her about the project...
When was the project first suggested to you - and what was your initial reaction?
In the summer of 2007, Pavol told me he'd like to call me one day soon, and to make sure I had a lot of time and didn't feel pressured to hurry. Once the calling began, it was simply my own response to the question "Tell me the story of your life." One phone call turned into ten, and only at the very end of the calls did he propose that it be a show. Of course I knew he'd be recording the phone calls because he'd called me and others for "No Dice" and "Romeo and Juliet". I didn't realize at the time that I was the only person he was calling, so it took me by surprise.
Did you take much persuading to agree to become involved in such an intimate way?
I wouldn't say that they persuaded me, it was a decision that I made on my own, taking all things into account. My main concern was maintaining the privacy of some of the people I talked about, so we changed a lot of the names. I'm honoured that Pavol chose to call me. My life has been made into art! I have worked with Kelly and Pavol for several years, and not only do I have great respect for their work, but I trust them implicitly.
The publicity material describes it as 'an unremarkable life' - do you take that as a compliment or an insult?
Indeed I've supposedly led an "unremarkable life". I don't think of it in terms of a compliment or insult, but rather it underscores the fact that it's not a show about my life. The text is culled and edited from phone calls that took the form of a stream of consciousness. There was no preparation; I was not crafting my language nor was I speaking of my life triumphs or failures. I do not consider "Life and Times" to be my life story. I don't believe my life has been unremarkable, I am surprised and in awe of it every day.
Have you been happy to talk about anything and everything, or are there some elements of your life that you've continued to want to keep private?
For me to talk about everything and anything in my life would have literally taken more than my lifetime, so no - I've not spoken about everything. I've left lots of things out, but I tried to be as candid as possible of the things that did come to mind.
Is there anything you've been particularly embarrassed about recounting?
Not necessarily. Life can be embarrassing. I try to embrace that.
How have your friends and family reacted to it?
With joy, curiosity, bewilderment, and amazement.
Life and Times Episodes 1-5 will be performed on four separate evenings at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, from 21 - 25 May, or in one 12-hour Saturday sitting.