Nature Theater of Oklahoma & EnKnapGroup: PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (US, SI)
EnKnapGroup is currently the only Slovenian permanent contemporary dance ensemble. It is skillfully led by the artistic director Iztok Kovač, a world‑renowned dancer, choreographer and founder of the EN‑KNAP Institute, who is shaping a topnotch collective by constantly choosing new choreographers and directors, making EnKnapGroup an ensemble capable of tackling not only dancing, but also acting and directing challenges. For the performance Pursuit of Happiness, the collective collaborated with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, the New York artistic duo Kelly Copper and Pavol Liška. Their works (for example, Life and Times cycle) are an interweaving of theatrical boldness, and at the same time communicativeness, capable of operating in different layers – engaged, but at the same time with humor.
Pursuit of Happiness almost feels like a Spaghetti Western: iconography of the Wild West, intense situations, long stares, cowboy dance, Morricone‑style music, a sea of corpses, and an endless pursuit for a single goal that drives the performance. It is a worn‑out saying that art is a mirror to society; in Pursuit of Happiness, the authors looked deep into the mirror and stuck their tongue out at it. Of course, problems of society that is constantly chasing goods, success, progress at the expense of others and itself are apparent in the performance, but more entertaining, full of taunting and depth, is an aspect of the play where it holds a mirror up to the art itself. The imperative of the American Dream is definitely changing the world, but can we say the same for art?
Authors: Pavol Liška, Kelly Copper
Performing: EnKnapGroup: Luke Thomas Dunne, Ida Hellsten, Bence Mezei, Ana Štefanec, Jeffrey Schoenaers, Lada Petrovski Ternovšek
Lighting design: Luka Curk
Costume design: Katarina Škaper
Making of costumes: Atelje d.o.o.
Rehearsals director: Tanja Skok
Translation of text: Stojan Pelko
Techical director: Luka Curk
Technical crew leader: Jaka Šimenc
Technicians: Leon Curk, Luka Curk, Gal Škrjanec Skaberne, Omar Ismail, Hotimir Knific, Aleksander Plut, Špela Škulj
Public relations: Nina Smerkol
Marketing: Goran Pakozdi
Executive producer: Karmen Keržar
Production manager: Marjeta Lavrič
Produced by: Zavod EN-KNAP
Co-produced by: Théâtre de la Ville, steirischer herbst
Supported by: Embassy of the United States in Slovenia
Foto: Andrej Lamut
Performance is in English with Slovene surtitles.