Nature Theater of Oklahoma / EN-KNAP Group – Pursuit of Happiness
September 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
An event every day that begins at 7:00 pm, repeating until September 21, 2019
A Mexican bar man. An Austrian sales rep. A trip to Baghdad. A modern-day magic potion. Unsettlingly uplifting cowboy dances. Creators Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper of Nature Theater of Oklahoma (named after the theater in Kafka’s novel Amerika) and internationally renowned Slovenian dance troupe EN-KNAP Group follow the American Dream from a Wild West saloon to the battlefields of Iraq.
Part barn dance, part movie pitch, part comedy of manners, Pursuit of Happiness plays with language, movement, setting, and genre through an endlessly morphing folk tale of ultra-violent Western expansion, taking on the myth and legacy of the American Dream and its aspirational aftermath.
***All performances have open captioning.
Authors Pavol Liska, Kelly Copper Performed by EN-KNAP Group Bence Mezei (Hungary), Ida Hellsten (Sweden), Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia), Tamás Tuza (Hungary), Giorgia Belotti (Italy), Radoslav Piovarči (Slovakia) EN-KNAP Artistic Director Iztok Kovač Rehearsal Director Nohemi Barriuso Light Design Luka Curk Costume design Katarina Škaper Technical Team Leon Curk, Gal Škrjanec Skaberne, and Špela Škulj Photography and Video Andrej Lamut Executive Producer Karmen Keržar Public Relations and editing Nina Smerkol Production Manager Marjeta Lavrič Originally created and performed by Luke Thomas Dunne (Great Britain), Ida Hellsten (Sweden), Bence Mezei (Hungary), Lada Petrovski Ternovšek (Croatia), Jeffrey Schoenaers (Belgium), Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia)
Production EN-KNAP Productions (en-knap.com)
Coproduction Théâtre de la Ville, steirischer herbst
Supported by City of Ljubljana – Department of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
Photos and video by Andrej Lamut
Festival Executive Producers Andy & Bryna Scott Festival Producers Robert M. Dever; Edward & Anne Wagner Festival Co-Producer Christie Hartwell
Nature Theater of Oklahoma is an OBIE-winning New York art and performance enterprise under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. With each new project, we attempt to set an impossible challenge for ourselves, the audience, and our collaborators—working from inside the codes and confines of established genres and exploding them. No two projects are formally the same, but the work is always full of humor, earnestness, rigor, and the audience plays an essential role—whether as spectators or—just as often—as participants in the work. Using ready-made material, found space, gifted properties, cosmic accident, extreme formal manipulation and plain hard work—Nature Theater of Oklahoma makes art to affect a shift in the perception of everyday reality that extends beyond the site of performance and into the world in which we live.
EN-KNAP Group, led by its founder, the internationally renowned choreographer and dancer Iztok Kovač, is the only permanent contemporary dance company in Slovenia. Since 2009, this ensemble of remarkable dancers has been based at the Španski Borci Cultural Centre in the Moste neighbourhood of Ljubljana. Since its establishment ten years ago, EN-KNAP Group has worked with over 30 Slovene and international choreographers and theater directors of aesthetically diverse backgrounds, and created a repertoire of 26 full-evening stage works and a dance film. In addition to making over 50 domestic appearances per year, the company regularly tours internationally.