English National Ballet presentsCreature by Akram Khan
Time: the present, leaning slightly into the future
Place: a remote archipelago in the High Arctic
In a dilapidated former Arctic research station, Creature has been conscripted by a military brigade into a bold new experimental programme. He is being tested for his mental and physical ability to adapt to extreme cold, isolation and homesickness; vital qualities in mankind’s proposed colonisation of the final frontiers on earth and in space.
When not engaged in menial labour with fellow soldier Andres, Creature is examined and tested by the brigade Doctor, and cared for by his keeper Marie, with whom he is in love. The brigade’s routine is interrupted by the arrival of the Major, who brings news of the historic mission for which they have all been training. Creature is sent out on a punishing expedition. On his return the countdown begins and the brigade celebrates its departure. Andres and Creature join the dance uninvited, but the festivities are suddenly interrupted.
The Doctor celebrates the success of her experiments on Creature with a demonstration lecture to the brigade. The Major attempts to seduce Marie, inviting her to join him on the mission, and banishes Creature into the blizzard. Creature returns and is beaten by the Major. The countdown to the mission launch begins. When Marie resists the Major’s demands, he turns his rage and power against her. The brigade and the Major abandon the site. Alone among the broken things, Creature remembers and mourns.