Jennifer Krasinski at Artforum:
SINCE 2006, Kelly Copper and Pavol Liška, collaborating as the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, have created brainy and ebullient works for stage, film, and video, aerating serious conceptual heft with an oddball comedic sensibility. For the directing-and-writing duo, scripts have never been hard-and-fast things. Take the one for their epic nine-part video Life and Times (2009–15): The words were transcribed from phone conversations between Liška and company member Kristin Worrall, during which the latter recounted the (often banal) details of her life thus far. What else would one expect from a team whose moniker is lifted from a poster that appears in Franz Kafka’s Amerika (1927) announcing an opportunity to join the Nature Theater of Oklahoma: “Anyone who wants to become an artist should contact us! We are a theater that can make use of everyone, each in his place!”
Their latest triumph is a film adaptation of Austrian Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s 666-page novel Die Kinder der Toten (The Children of the Dead, 1995)—by the writer’s own estimation, her masterwork. A lashing of Austrian “forgetfulness” regarding the Holocaust and its lethal legacy, hers is a disaster traumedy in which the dead return to a quiet Austrian town as zombies, only to die and return again and again.