Outwitting the Devil | Rehearsal Images
By Jean-Louis Fernandez
World Premiere: 13 July 2019, COLOURS International Dance Festival, Stuttgart
Final performance: 27 October 2022, Stadttheater Ingolstadt
“I have awakened to a new way of dancing. And that is to dance my ideas through the bodies of others, including older dancers, who carry their histories and complex emotional experiences within them. But what remains unchanged is my passion for exploring old and new myths in the context of our times.”
– Akram Khan
Stirring classical and contemporary, Akram explores our oldest rituals in the midst of our ever-changing planet. Outwitting the Devil brings together a superb ensemble of six international artists sharing great differences in their practice: Mythili Prakash or Pallavi Anand, Luke Jessop, Jasper Narvaez, James Vu Anh Pham or Louis T. Partridge, Elpida Skourou and François Testory.
Inspired by the newly discovered fragment of the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world’s earliest surviving great works of literature, Akram’s work is a concentrated epic about ritual and remembering. In a landscape of broken tablets and fallen idols, its six characters trade their remaining wealth and stories, seeking to make whole the fragments of ancient knowledge lost and forgotten over time.
To weave the narrative and design of this piece, Akram invited his close collaborators: dramaturg Ruth Little, composer Vincenzo Lamagna, rehearsal director Mavin Khoo, costume designer Kimie Nakano, writer Jordan Tannahill, lighting designer Aideen Malone and visual designer Tom Scutt. Outwitting the Devil invites us all to the table where life, death and our half-remembered myths are the bread we break together.
At this year’s National Dance Awards, Company dancer James Vu Anh Pham won the Outstanding Male Modern Performance award for his performance in the work.
Artistic Director/Choreographer Akram Khan
Dramaturg Ruth Little
Lighting Designer Aideen Malone
Visual Designer Tom Scutt
Original Music Score and Sound Design Vincenzo Lamagna
Costume Designer Kimie Nakano
Writer Jordan Tannahill
Creative Associate and Coach Mavin Khoo
Rehearsal Directors Mavin Khoo, Azusa Seyama or Angela Towler
Performed by Mythili Prakash or Pallavi Anand, Luke Jessop, Jasper Narvaez, James Vu Anh Pham or Louis T. Partridge, Elpida Skourou and François Testory
Executive Producer Farooq Chaudhry
Technical Manager Tina Fagan
Production Manager Rich Fagan
Stage Manager Russell Parker
Lighting Engineer David Salter
Sound Engineer Peter Thomas
Project/Tour Manager Mashitah Omar
Tour Manager Assistant Margaux Karayianni or Svitlana Bil
LED Light Tube manufactured and supplied by Light Contrast Ltd
Original material devised by Ching-Ying Chien, Andrew Pan, Dominique Petit, James Vu Anh Pham, Mythili Prakash, Sam Asa Pratt
Arts Council England
Akram Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview in London and Curve Leicester.
Special thanks to Alistair Spalding, Vincent Thirion and Melanie Dumoulin, Patrick Colpé, Meinrad Huber and Eric Gauthier, Olivier Py and Agnès Troly, and the teams at Sadler’s Wells, CENTRAL – La Louvière, Théâtre de Namur, COLOURS Festival and Festival d’Avignon, Tamas Detrich and the team at Stuttgart Ballet, Mr. & Mrs. Khan, Yuko Khan, Aharya Dresses for Mythili Prakash’s costume and all the collaborators and technicians who have worked on the project.