Receiving its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells, Akram Khan’s acclaimed production Outwitting the Devil is an epic dance piece about ritual and remembering in the midst of our ever-changing planet.
Outwitting the Devil draws on ancient narrative, in this case the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh – one of the world’s oldest great works of literature. In this powerful opus, the gods punish a young King Gilgamesh for destroying a legendary cedar forest and killing its guardian Humbaba. They take the life of his beloved friend Enkidu, a wild man he had tamed. Confronted with the truth and sorrow of mortality, Gilgamesh passes into history, to become a fragment among the broken remnants of human culture and memory.
To weave the narrative and design of this ensemble piece, Khan’s close collaborators: dramaturg Ruth Little, composer Vincenzo Lamagna, rehearsal director Mavin Khoo, costume designer Kimie Nakano, and writer Jordan Tannahill are joined by lighting designer Aideen Malone and visual designer Tom Scutt, and a cast of six international dance artists.
This performance features haze effects, intermittent loud music and some adult themes including bereavement and physical violence.
Image description: An encounter between a woman with long black hair in a turmeric yellow and orange dress and an older man with long grey hair and a bare chest. She is poised on tiptoe, knees bent, and has one hand raised, the other extended towards him in command or conjuring. He relaxes back, supported at the shoulder by two others, while two more crouch behind them, holding on to each other at the waist. Small black blocks are scattered on the floor.
Co-produced by Théâtre de Namur – Centre Scénique, CENTRAL – Centre Culturel de La Louvière, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, Sadler’s Wells London, La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand – scène nationale, COLOURS International Dance Festival 2019 – Stuttgart
Supported by Arts Council England
Produced during residency at CENTRAL – Centre Culturel de La Louvière, Théâtre de Namur, and Festival d’Avignon.
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Members of the company and creative team in conversation. Free to same performance ticket holders. BSL interpreted.