ImPulsTanz 2021

Akram Khan Company (GB)

Outwitting the Devil

“I will undertake it and I will cut down the Cedar / It is I who will establish fame for eternity!” King Gilgamesh talks big in the Sumerian epic named after him, which British choreographer Akram Khan uses to show what it means to try to outsmart Satan. Outwitting the Devil is Khan’s metaphor for the way people deal with their dark sides. Mesopotamia, around 4,000 years ago: Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu overpower Humbaba, the guardian of a large cedar forest, and cut down its trees – an ecological disaster. As a result of Enkidu killing the defeated, he is struck by Humbaba’s deadly curse. Deeply affected by his loss, Gilgamesh, here, in the world’s first environmental poem, sets out in search of immortality. He does, in fact, find a cure for death, but a snake steals it from him. Akram Khan, awarded Choreographer Of The Year 2020, and a cross-generational ensemble - including French dance legend Dominique Petit - have combined this men’s story with Susan Dorothea White’s reinterpretation of Leonardo’s painting The Last Supper from a female perspective. The result is a gloomily sensual masterpiece with strong relevance to the present.

Austrian Premiere
Duration: 80 Minutes