Pursuit of happiness

Pursuit of Happiness was created by an American duo that, after nineteen years of collaborating and performing worldwide, became widely known for their epic series Life and Times. Their Nature Theater of Oklahoma from New York is one of the most renowned global names in theatre, which creates experimental, but accessible and unpretentious pieces. Pavol Liška and Kelly Copper, an OBIE-Award winning creative couple, have in the past collaborated with numerous producers, cultural institutions and have performed on all the biggest festivals worldwide. With the dancers of EN-KNAP Group they have created a very personalized piece, a hybrid between theatre, dance and contemporary performance.

Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s creators Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper take on the myth and legacy of the American Dream and its aspirational aftermath. The United States’ founding document, the Declaration of Independence, places “the pursuit of happiness” among the “unalienable rights” which it asserts have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments have been tasked to protect. But what is Happiness? Into what dark corner do we each individually and collectively chase it? To what wild and further frontiers will we pursue it? And to what surprising and unseemly Hollywood blockbuster end?

Working with the six dancers of EN-KNAP Group over the past year, they have created a unique and personal project, an endlessly morphing folk tale of ultra-violent Western expansion. Featuring a Mexican bar man, an Austrian sales rep, a trip to Baghdad, a modern-day magic potion, and some unsettlingly uplifting cowboy dances, this new creation provides EnKnapGroup’s versatile dancers with an ideal platform to show off their talents.

Production: En-Knap Productions

Théâtre de la Ville, steirischer herbst




“Personnel is being hired for the Theater in Oklahoma! The Great Nature Theater
of Oklahoma is calling you! It’s calling you today only! If you miss this opportunity,
there will never be another! Anyone thinking of his future, your place is with us!
All welcome! Anyone who wants to be an artist, step forward! We are the theater
that has a place for everyone, everyone in his place! If you decide to join us,
we congratulate you here and now! But hurry, be sure not to miss the midnight
deadline! We shut down at midnight, never to reopen! Accursed be anyone who
doesn’t believe us!”
-- Franz Kafka, Amerika

Nature Theater of Oklahoma is an OBIE award-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

Using readymade 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.

Concept, text and direction: Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper

Original cast: Luke Thomas Dunne (Great Britain); Ida Hellsten (Sweden); Bence Mezei (Hungary); Ana Štefanec (Slovenia); Jeffrey Schoenaers (Belgium); Lada Petrovski Ternovšek (Croatia)

Light design: Luka Curk

Costume design: Katarina Škaper

Costumes by: Atelje d.o.o.

Rehearsal Director (unitl September 2017): Tanja Skok
Rehearsal Director (after September 2017):
Nohemi Barriuso

Text translation: Stojan Pelko

Technical coordinator: Jaka Šimenc

Technicians: EN-KNAP Technical Team (Leon Curk, Gal Škrjanec Skaberne, Omar Ismail, Hotimir Knific, Aleksander Plut, Špela Škulj)

Photography: Andrej Lamut

Poster design: nejaaka

Public relations and editing: Nina Smerkol

Marketing:  Goran Pakozdi

Financial Manager: Julija Travančić

Programme Organiser and Coordinator: Katja Gabrijelčič

Executive producer: Karmen Keržar

Production manager: Marjeta Lavrič

Supported by City of Ljubljana - Department of Culture, and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Supported by US Embassy in Slovenia