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Nature Theater of Oklahoma - Life and Times
Calendar: Commercial Events
prof. taratonga
Forum Veteran
20.04.2012 to 21.04.2012 20:00 to 22:30
*The times shown may change, depending on DST settings
City/Town: Zürich
Event Type: Concert/Show
Location: Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Gessnerallee 8

Life And Times - Episode 1

Nature Theater of Oklahoma


With their weird mix of conceptual severity and exuberant playfulness, the young New York based off off off Broadway company Nature Theater of Oklahoma has created a large fan base at European theatre festivals. Sometimes, the spectator cannot be sure about what exactly s/he is seeing: a gymnastics club that loves to sing, a gospel mass that rampantly celebrates childhood memories? A musical, an opera, a TV soap? In «Life and Times» all of these merge.

«In «Life and Times», the New Yorkers combine the spirit of American avant-garde with the genre of the musical; their physical aesthetics of movement originates from Liska's communist youth. They sing and move for three and a half hours to show us the biography of a middle class girl, which they recorded during an endless phone call composed of stammered words. Ukulele, metallophone, cross flute, piano, and cello generate a minimal rhythm of musical harmonies. They elevate the banal everyday stories by giving them a hint of glamour. Banal? If you immerse into the narrative, you will find yourself in your own childhood, full of joy and hope and embarrassing moments. The effect is similar to Georges Perec's «Je me souviens». A catalogue of strange memories stimulates the personal memory, and out of that dark place emerges a flood of images. Lulled by the soundscape we travel back to the best thing that we have: original emotions.» Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Since 2009 the Nature Theater of Oklahoma (whose name stems from Kafka's book «America») under the double lead of directors Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska has been working on the Life and Times project. The first part of it was invited to the 2010 Berliner Theatertreffen. For 16 hours Copper and Liska had a 34 year old friend tell her life story to them over the phone, transcribed it including every laugh and every sound she would make, and finally staged it by sampling everyday gestures, dance and gymnastics standards into a continuous flow of memory, a flow which you cannot resist – and which eventually makes you doubt the content of the narrative.

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