Stirring classical and contemporary, Akram Khan’s latest production, Outwitting the Devil, is an epic dance piece about ritual and remembering in the midst of our ever-changing planet.
Like Kaash, based on the pantheon of Hindu gods, and Until the Lions, re-imagining the experience of one of Mahabharata’s female protagonists, Outwitting the Devil similarly draws on ancient narrative, in this case the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh – one of the world’s oldest great works of literature.
In Outwitting the Devil, the king Gilgamesh is punished by the gods for destroying a legendary cedar forest and killing its guardian; his friend Enkidu, a wild man he has tamed, is taken from him. Confronted with the truth and sorrow of human 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 new 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 an ensemble of six international dance artists.