From Wild West to Middle East with New York and Slovenian avant garde
“At a time when even Off Off Broadway productions seem infatuated with technology and spectacle, they animate the theatre with a bravura physicality” The New York Times
Part barn dance, part Spaghetti Western movie-pitch, part thriller and slapstick comedy, Pursuit of Happiness starts in a Wild West saloon and ends on the battlefields of Iraq.
Admirers of New York's OBIE Award-winning Nature Theater of Oklahoma (NTO) will know to expect the unexpected, and the very best in contemporary performance.
In this genre-bending show that jumps between theatre, dance and live art the company combines with performers from Slovenia's cult EnKnapGroup to create an endlessly morphing folk tale of ultra-violent Western expansion. It confronts the myth and legacy of the American dream, no holds barred. Notable characters and scenes include a Mexican barman, an Austrian sales rep for modern day magic potions, a trip to Baghdad and some disturbingly high-spirited cowboy dances.
The title refers to the three inalienable rights set out in the American Declaration of Independence; 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. As Donald J Trump vows to 'make America great again', the show's six characters set out in true gold-digger style in search of their own happiness, albeit in unusual and unfavourable circumstances.
Founded by its artistic directors Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, Nature Theater of Oklahoma explodes out of the confines of established performance genres. Its work is always full of humour, rigour, seriousness and dynamism – and the audience plays an essential role, whether as spectators or participants. It shifts our perception of everyday reality.
EnKnapGroup is Slovenia's only permanent contemporary dance company. Founded by Iztok Kovac in 1993 in Ljubljana, it has a repertoire of over twenty five productions, and works with many Slovene and international choreographers and directors, at home and abroad.
The collaboration of these two pioneering groups in Pursuit of Happiness has produced a show that has left critics breathless. In the words of the Netherlands’ Theaterkrant newspaper, “it generates an orgy of images, memories and emotions in the hearts and minds of its audience”.
Don't miss it! It might just change your life.
Théâtre de la Ville, steirischer herbst
Concept, Text and Direction
Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper
EnKnapGroup; Ida Hellsten (Sweden); Bence Mezei (Hungary); Gilles Noël (Belgium); Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia); Jeffrey Schoenaers (Belgium); Lada Petrovski Ternovšek (Croatia)
Lighting Design and Stage Manager
Photography and Video
Artistic Director of EN-KNAP Productions
Approx 2 hrs with no interval
Performed in English with Chinese surtitles
Latecomers will not be admitted
Recommended for ages 16 and above
This production contains adult content and strong language