Nature Theater of Oklahoma (US) & EnKnapGroup (SI)

Pursuit of Happiness

Theatre / Dance

A death-defying quest for happiness takes the EnKnapGroup and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma to an American dream somewhere between Baghdad and the Wild West.

Pursuit of Happiness (Foto: Andrej Lamut)


The herbst ticket blocks!

Bacchae – Prelude to a Purge

Apollon Musagète

Die Kinder der Toten – Der Große Dreh



Premiere in the German-speaking region


Fri 13/10 & Sat 14/10, 19.30

Helmut List Halle


19 €


English language with German and English surtitles

Talk following the performance on Fri 13/10

“Make America dream again!” A challenge that can only be taken with a good portion of irony given current American realities. And yet the American Declaration of Independence contains a wonderful passage that you would hardly expect to find in a state’s founding deed: it lists the pursuit of happiness as one of the “unalienable Rights” of all citizens. Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper explore this challenging and hope-inspiring promise in this piece. And they wonder: happiness, what exactly is it and what is the price for achieving it?

Together with the six dancers of the Slovenian EnKnapGroup, Liska and Copper set out in true gold-digger style in search of happiness, artistic fulfilment and world peace. In a scenario that could hardly be any more American: a saloon in deepest Texas – with a Mexican barkeeper, Austrian energy drinks, a journey to Baghdad, evil killer drones, and a number of disturbingly high-spirited cowboy dances.

Concept, text and direction Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
By and with Luke Thomas Dunne, Ida Hellsten, Bence Mezei, Jeffrey Schoenaers, Ana Štefanec, Lada Petrovski Ternovšek
Light design Luka Curk
Costume design Katarina Škaper
Costumes Atelje d.o.o.
Rehearsal director EnKnapGroup Tanja Skok
Stage manager Luka Curk
Technical realisation Leon Curk, Gal Škrjanec Skaberne
Photography Andrej Lamut
Translation surtitles Ulrich Blumenbach

Produced by EN-KNAP Productions
Co-produced by steirischer herbst, Théâtre de la Ville Paris
With the support of The U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, City of Ljubljana – Department of Culture and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Project sponsor AVL Cultural Foundation

steirischer herbst
Project management Michael Doubek
Technical management Karl Masten

Nature Theater of Oklahoma (US)

In 2006 Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper founded the Nature Theater of Oklahoma which has grown into one of the United States’ most famous Off-Off-Broadway groups. The ‘OK Theater’ swiftly evolved into a multimedia ensemble, effortlessly oscillating between traditional theatre, comics and animation art as well as film and winning the Obie Award in 2008 and 2013. All these elements coalesced in the group’s monumental work “Life and Times”, its nine episodes shattering the boundaries between fiction and real life. Unsettling and intimate, the group’s artistic work seeks to fully absorb the visitors’ attention, thus challenging their perception of reality. Nature Theater of Oklahoma have been part of the steirischer herbst festival four times – and they are returning for a fifth time in 2017 with their adaption of Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder der Toten” (The Children of the Dead).


EnKnapGroup (SI)

Choreographer and dancer Iztok Kovač, born in Trbovlje/Slovenia in 1962, founded the international dance company En-Knap in 1993. One year later, the group moved from Belgium to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, where Kovač launched the production firm En-Knap Productions. In 2007, finally, Kovač and En-Knap Productions presented their latest project: the EnKnapGroup. In the ten years since its foundation, the company – the only permanent ensemble for contemporary dance in Slovenia – has worked with more than thirty authors, creating twenty-five productions and also gaining fame beyond the borders of Slovenia. In 2017 the EnKnapGroup are also performing at steirischer herbst in cooperation with the Nature Theater of Oklahoma.