Nature Theater of Oklahoma [New York]

Rambo solo

Rambo solo
Rambo solo

15.10 – 17.10.2008

“So you want me to tell you the story of Rambo: First Blood? Where should I begin…?”

Last season Kaaitheater presented work by the New York group Nature Theater of Oklahoma for the first time. For No Dice the directors Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper made an absurd compilation of telephone conversations. From these snatches it became painfully and amusingly clear how we are not able to make a good, coherent story of our own lives.

This season the group will present two well-known stories: Rambo: First Blood (watched by millions of people all over the world and flogged to death in countless sequels) and Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most popular play. In the actors’ attempts to retell the stories accurately, mistaken memories and details, half of which are pure fantasy, start to lead a life of their own so that the whole enterprise appears to get completely out of hand. Both performances take us down the slippery path of linear storytelling in which a great creative force is awakened by the error and  impossibility of repetition.

All his life the actor Zachary Oberzan has felt very closely connected to the story of Rambo: First Blood. He saw this Hollywood blockbuster, starring Sylvester Stallone, for the first time when he was ten years old during a magical weekend at his home in Maine, when he was watching the free HBO film channel. First Blood has become his own small private passion; he knows every detail by heart and is able to recount the story very vividly. However, the more involved he becomes in telling the story, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between Rambo’s story and that of Zachary himself. As the plot twists and turns, what he says begins increasingly to resemble a personal revelation. The distance between true and false, ideal and real becomes more and more blurred. In this way the performance asks general questions about identity, property, psychology and acting in a way that is both direct and intelligent.

The Village Voice: ‘Over the past several years the Nature Theater of Oklahoma has evolved into one of New York’s most talented ensembles…their shows are smart, witty, highly physical, and eager to twist notions of theatricality.’ (...) ‘Deploying a fresh intelligence, an ingenious theatricality and a pleasingly odd sense of humor, the Nature Theater of Oklahoma has become one of the top alternative companies in New York.’

creation & direction Pavol Liska, Kelly Copper | from conversations with Zachary Oberzan | with Zachary Oberzan | design Peter Nigrini | production manager Kell Condon | production International Summerfestival / Kampnagel (Hamburg), Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburg) | co-production Kaaitheater, WorkSpace Brussels, Buda (Kortrijk), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen), Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University)