<br/><br/><strong><em><a href="http://gothamist.com/2010/10/10/opinionist_gatz.php">Gatz</a></em> was 8 hours. Now you've got Nature Theater of Oklahoma doing an 11-hour show. Taylor Mac's show could be 24 when it's finally all together. How far is this all going go in terms of duration? Is there one-upping element to this trend now, like, "Eight hours is NOTHING! We turn it up to 11!"?</strong> I hope not. I don't know why we're being hit with this string of endurance pieces. But <a href="http://www.undertheradarfestival.com/index.php?p=616">Nature Theater of Oklahoma is such a different experience</a> than <em>Gatz</em>. It's sort of just pure joy for eleven hours. And the story is just this woman's life, this person, that Pavol Liska, the co-director of Nature Theater, called up. She works with him, and he said, "Tell me your life story." <br/><br/>He thought it would be two hours long, he'd tape it. And she just started going, and sixteen hours later, she was up to the age she is. And so, he decided that this text is going to be his work of the next probably ten years. Liska and co-director Kelly Copper are making this mega opus out of this sort of banal story of someone's life from Connecticut, growing up and going through everything. <br/><br/>But it's not a catastrophic life; it's a pretty nice life. And yet... you get into this place when you're watching this musicalâbecause the first part of it is set to ukelele music, with a large castâand you get into sort of running your own life story up against her remembrances of her life story, and it turns into this sort of communal reminiscence and understanding of the present, that is pretty powerful, and really special. And after I saw it for 11 hours, I could have gone for another 24. And this only brings us halfway through, so eventually we will get there. <br/><br/>A lot of this is theater artists playing with time, which is one of the few things that they can do in theater, and with Nature Theaterâespecially if you go through the whole marathon experience that we're doing on Sunday, and then the next two Saturdaysâthey feed you, they take care of you. There's ice cream, aerobicsâit's a whole experience! And you're going through it with all these people, and by the end of it you know the person next to you pretty well. It's fab. And I think creating a community... it's hard to get that out of, you know, an HBO series.
Life and Times: Episodes 1-4 (Photo Credit: Nature Theater of Oklahoma)