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Absence as Presence: Nature Theater of Oklahoma, The Wooster Group, Young Jean Lee

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Friday, October 5, 2012
- | Elebash

Photo courtesy of Young Jean Lee

Cinematic Postcards from the New York Avant-Garde Abroad


Animation 2-5-11 (Group)
In 2011 NTOK started making stop-motion animated films in the different locations where they happened to be on tour. This film was made at the deSingel Arts Campus in Antwerp at the end of a long tour on the last day before they returned home.

Artists Involved: Featuring Ilan Bachrach, Elisabeth Conner, Kelly Copper, Gabel Eiben, Dan Gower, Robert M. Johanson, and Kristin Worrall; filmed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper.

Screen Test No. 7 (Shizuoka)
A deep study of working process as Pavol Liska directs actor Robert M. Johanson in the spectacular natural setting of Shizuoka, Japan, where the company was in residence this June. They work together on a 1/2 page of text from one of the upcoming episodes of Life and Times. This all-day rehearsal process is compressed into 30 minutes, and is edited and scored by Kelly Copper.

Artists Involved: Featuring Robert M. Johanson; directed and filmed by Pavol Liska; edited by Kelly Copper; music by Beethoven, Symphony No. 7 in A Major.

Lead Artist: NATURE THEATER OF OKLAHOMA is an award-winning New York art and performance group under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper.  Since Poetics: a ballet brut, our first dance piece created as an ensemble, Nature Theater of Oklahoma has been devoted to making the work we don’t know how to make, putting ourselves in impossible situations, and working from out of our own ignorance and unease.  We strive to create an unsettling live situation that demands total presence from everyone in the room.  We use the readymade material around us, found space, overheard speech, and observed gesture, and through extreme formal manipulation, and superhuman effort, we affect in our work a shift in the perception of everyday reality that extends beyond the site of performance and into the world in which we live.

Upcoming: Life and Times, Episodes 1-4  will have its American premiere in January 2013, presented by Soho Rep and The Public Theater.




The Wooster Group DAILIES are a series of short films—artworks in their own right created by our resident filmmaker Zbigniew Bzymek in conjunction with the company—that we release each workday on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. The DAILIES cover a variety of topics including production teasers, rehearsal edits, company member profiles, intern interviews, tour diaries, archival material, and much more. The videos provide our audience with daily glimpses into the workings and life of the Group.

voice doctor
Date: [01.05.12]; Tweet: “Clay: is it against the rules if I give another few inches in there? Liz: uh, no, no, yeah–the more the better”

VIEUX CARRÉ tour – Amsterdam day 3
Date: [06.10.11]; Tweet: “I can’t say this because you’ll put it on the blog”

EARLY PLAYS – dash oh dash neill
Date: [01.13.12]; Tweet: “here are some of the jpegs that I want to show you from the internet”

Date: [11.19.11]; Tweet: “I wanted to be Scott for Halloween but I couldn’t fit seven chocolate amaranth bars in my mouth”

Lead Artist: THE WOOSTER GROUP is a company of experimental theatre artists under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte. Wooster Group productions are known for their interweaving of text and performance with technology to tell stories in new ways. Since its founding in 1976, the Group has made more than 30 works for theatre, dance, film, and video. The Group has toured in the U.S. and to Europe, Russia, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. The Performing Garage at 33 Wooster Street in lower Manhattan is the company’s permanent home, which it owns and operates as a shareholder in the Grand Street Artists Co-op, originally established as part of the Fluxus art movement.




Works created by Young Jean Lee (as guest vlogger for The Wooster Group on location in the UK), in collaboration with Zbigniew Bzymek, resident filmmaker for The Wooster Group.

A Bastard Son of Priam’s
Z is asked to perform nude in The Wooster Group’s production of Troilus and Cressida, as Young Jean documents the process.

Artists Involved: Conceived, directed, and shot by Young Jean Lee; performed and edited by Zbigniew Bzymek.

Crying Competition
Young Jean pits Wooster Group actors Ari Fliakos, Scott Shepherd, and Gary Wilmes against each other in a competition to see who can cry the hardest.

Artists Involved: Conceived and directed by Young Jean Lee; shot and edited by Zbigniew Bzymek; performed by Ari Fliakos, Scott Shepherd, and Gary Wilmes.

Young Jean Lee makes a love-tribute to Elizabeth LeCompte in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Artists Involved: Conceived and directed by Young Jean Lee; shot and edited by Zbigniew Bzymek; music by Young Jean Lee and Andrew Hoepfner.

Lead Artists: YOUNG JEAN LEE is a playwright and director who has been called “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by The New York Times and “one of the best experimental playwrights in America” by Time Out New York. She has written and directed nine shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. She is also the recipient of two OBIE awards, the Festival Prize of the Zuercher Theater Spektakel, a 2010 Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award. Find out more at www.youngjeanlee.org.

ZBIGNIEW BZYMEK serves as daily video blogger for The Wooster Group. His blog videos have appeared on The New York Times website and have received hundreds of thousands of plays and been written about in The Guardian, The Stage, The L Magazine, and New York Magazine. As a director, his mid-length narrative, Nagle Na Zawsze (2008) received – among other prizes – the Grand Prix du jury at the 31st Rencontres Internationales Henri Langlois in Poitiers. His first feature-length narrative, Utopians (2011), starring Jim Fletcher, is distributed in Germany by Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art.



Prelude.12 at a Glance

OCT. 3

OCT. 4

OCT. 5

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