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The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and Live Arts Bard Present Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Romeo & Juliet

Eleanor Davis

Image Credit: Jaques-Jean Tiziou

 “A hilariously deconstructed take on the enduring classic.”
Time Out New York

“Flat-out hilarious.” —Variety

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College and Live Arts Bard present Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Romeo & Juliet on Friday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with the artists; Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, February 23 at 2 p.m. All performances take place in LUMA Theater. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Fisher Center box office at or by calling 845-758-7900.

“Tell us the plot of Romeo and Juliet.” Thus began a series of phone calls to friends, the exact transcripts of which are performed with vigor and charm by Nature Theater of Oklahoma. As the respondents fumble through the characters and plot points, we realize that when memory lets us down, a necessary creativity takes over. The result is an irreverent and daring romp through Shakespeare’s best-loved play, where our fallible recollections take center stage. “A delirious exploration of remembrance and imagination’s constant pas de deux… ingeniously performed. This is one of the greatest theater companies in New York, if not the world,” writes The Gothamist.

This young American avant-garde theater troupe has received accolades all over the world for their quest to reclaim and reimagine the oral traditions of theater. At times hilarious, at times bizarre, and always disarmingly sincere, Nature Theater of Oklahoma is one of the most important ensembles working in the theater today. Conceived and directed by Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, the cast features Anne Gridley ’02 and Robert M. Johanson with Elisabeth Conner.

While in residence, Nature Theater of Oklahoma will present the U.S. premiere screening of Nature Theater of Oklahoma: The Movie! The epic documentary is an intimate look into Nature Theater’s process and company dynamic, tracking their unprecedented 21-day takeover of the Hebbel Theater in Berlin in the summer of 2013. Nature Theater leaders Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper narrate this personal diary/video essay about grand ambition, grand sacrifice, and the struggle and reward of forging an artistic life. The screening takes place on Saturday, February 22 at 2p.m. in the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center, located in Bard College’s Avery Arts Center. Admission is free, and reservations are required via the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900.

These events kick off Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Live Arts Bard residency. The company will return in June 2014 to create Episode 7 of their acclaimed Life & Times series, commissioned by Live Arts Bard, and company member Anne Gridley ’02 is teaching in Bard’s Theater & Performance Program during the spring 2014 semester.

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For tickets and additional information about these programs contact the Fisher Center box office at, or call 845-758-7900.

About Nature Theater of Oklahoma

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

About The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, the former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, eight weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 25th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.

The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. Live Arts Bard, a residency and commissioning program, is a laboratory for professional artists in theater, dance, and performance to test ideas and develop new projects, many of which premiere at the Fisher Center. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts.

About Live Arts Bard

Live Arts Bard (LAB) is Bard College’s commissioning and residency program at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. A laboratory for new performance, LAB was launched in 2012 to create and support a community of visiting artists and students who work side by side to generate projects and new creative methodologies. Each year, LAB provides residencies for between five and eight individual artists or groups of collaborators in theater, performance, dance, and allied art forms. Visiting artists develop and present their own projects, direct productions or create performances with Bard students, teach courses and master classes at Bard, and hold open rehearsals and special events for the public.

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February 4, 2014

This event was last updated on 02-07-2014