Akram Khan's Jungle Book reimagined

 

Sunday, December 3, 2023 | 2:30 PM
Memorial Auditorium

 

 

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PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.



Synopsis


ACT I

Sea levels are rising; waters dominate land; and humans scramble for their survival in search for higher ground. A young child finds herself separated from her family and ends up in a flooded city, deserted by its human inhabitants. Monuments have been uprooted and rearranged, and animals of all shapes and sizes have congregated here and formed an uneasy alliance as they try to live with this new unreliable climate. They have claimed this cityscape as their own – marking their territories in libraries, supermarkets, governmental buildings, and even places of worship.

The child is discovered by the wolf pack led by Raksha and Rama. Raksha wants to keep the child, but Rama insists that humans bring danger, and they must destroy it. Raksha protects Mowgli and presents her to an animal council, led by Akela, a dog, and with the watchful eyes in the sky of Chil, the kite. The animals speak of a mysterious hunter, a human who has been cast out by his own kind. The hunter has returned to these lands and keeps the animals in constant fear. After much deliberation, the child is accepted by the council and the naming process begins: Mowgli. Mowgli is set to work straight away; she must prove her worth and help the animals in their search for food. Maybe human instincts are just what they need.

Mowgli finds herself in the company of Bagheera, a kidnapped albino panther who grew up in a palace, and Baloo, an escaped dancing bear. However, on their quest for food, Mowgli is taken by the Bandar-log; lab monkeys who have had all kinds of experiments done on them. Through cunning, the Bandar-log outwit Baloo and Bagheera and steal Mowgli. Bagheera and Baloo must now find an animal capable of striking fear into the Bandar-log. After all, they are not animals of the tree world. They seek out Kaa, a rock python, who has escaped from captivity but still lives with the traumas of a lifetime stuck behind a glass viewing screen.

ACT II

Mowgli is taken to the Bandar-log’s lair, a ransacked governmental building. The Bandar-log are no strangers to humankind; they come from testing laboratories and regurgitate commercial jingles and political rants they heard from their cages. They listened, copied, and aped the humans, but now they want to become them. Mowgli is the missing piece of the puzzle. A human child to teach them how to fully become human. With the help of Kaa, Baloo and Bagheera rescue Mowgli from the hands of the Bandar-log just at the moment she is about to help them create fire: the most feared possession of mankind. Animals can’t control this. Mankind can.

When Mowgli is saved, the trio return to the council where Hathi, the leader of the elephants, tells them of their ancient tale, back to the time when the jungles they once knew were created. But when the hunter finally breaches their territory, and shoots down Chil, the animals know that this spells the beginning of the end of the peace they have forged together. Mowgli, remembering her mother’s words throughout her journey, decides to stand up and fight for her newfound friends and seeks out the hunter and end his savagery.


Biography

Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In the last 22 years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as Jungle Book reimagined, Outwitting the Devil, XENOS, Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees. As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan’s choreography is the embodiment of shared exploration across multiple disciplines and cultures. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue and indie rock band Florence and the Machine, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost. Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim. As a choreographer, Khan has developed a close collaboration with English National Ballet and its Artistic Director Tamara Rojo. He created the short piece Dust, part of the Lest We Forget programme, which led to an invitation to create his own critically acclaimed version of the iconic romantic ballet Giselle.In recent years, Khan has moved into television, specifically documentaries. He has created three documentaries with Swan Films for Channel 4, the Sky Arts documentary series Why Do We Dance, and an episode of the Netflix series MOVE. Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including two Laurence Olivier Awards, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and nine Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. This year he was announced as the new Chancellor of De Montfort University, and he is also an Honorary Graduate of University of London as well as Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban. Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London as well as Curve.


About Akram Khan Company

In July 1999 in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, an animated and curiosity-filled conversation took place between the young gifted dancer/choreographer Akram Khan and an ambitious former dancer and just recently graduated arts manager Farooq Chaudhry. That conversation laid the foundation stone for a dynamic collaboration, culminating in the creation of Akram Khan Company one year later.

Inspired by Akram Khan’s early training in the Indian classical dance form kathak, and the hybrid language that organically emerged when Akram’s kathak training encountered contemporary dance in his teens, a vision began to form, fuelled by a desire to learn and create through collaboration with the very best people across all the disciplines in the arts.

The rules were simple: take risks, think big and daring, explore the unfamiliar, avoid compromise and tell stories through dance that are compelling and relevant, with artistic integrity.

In over 20 years, Akram Khan Company is now undisputedly one of the foremost innovative dance companies in the world. The programmes range from kathak and modern solos to artist-to-artist collaborations and ensemble productions. The Company has a major international presence and enjoys busy tours that reach out to many cultures and peoples across the globe. Akram Khan has been the recipient of numerous international dance awards, the most notable being an Olivier Award for his solo production DESH in 2012.

A milestone in the Company’s journey was the creation of a section of the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in 2012.

Akram Khan Company enjoys artistic association with Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, Curve in Leicester, and other leading venues and festivals around the world.

Credit List


Programmes

Director/Choreographer Akram Khan

Creative Associate/Coach Mavin Khoo

Writer Tariq Jordan

Dramaturgical Advisor Sharon Clark

Composer Jocelyn Pook

Sound Designer Gareth Fry

Lighting Designer Michael Hulls

Visual Stage Designer Miriam Buether

Art Direction and Director of Animation Adam Smith (YeastCulture)

Producer/Director of Video Design Nick Hillel (YeastCulture)

Rotoscope Artists/Animators Naaman Azhari, Natasza Cetner, Edson R Bazzarin

Rehearsal Directors Nicky Henshall, Andrew Pan, Angela Towler

Dancers Maya Balam Meyong, Tom Davis-Dunn, Harry Theadora Foster, Filippo Franzese, Bianca Mikahil, Max Revell, Matthew Sandiford, Pui Yung Shum, Elpida Skourou, Holly Vallis, Jan Mikaela Villanueva, Luke Watson

Assistant Animators Nisha Alberti, Geo Barnett, Miguel Mealla Black, Michelle Cramer, Jack Hale, Zuzanna Odolczyk, Sofja Umarik

Voice Actors Tian-Lan Chaudhry, Joy Elias-Rilwan, Pushkala Gopal, Dana Haqjoo, Nicky Henshall, Su-Man Hsu, Kathryn Hunter, Emmanuel Imani, Divya Kasturi, Jeffery Kissoon, Mavin Khoo, Yasmin Paige, Max Revell, Christopher Simpson, Pui Yung Shum, Holly Vallis, Jan Mikaela Villanueva, Luke Watson, 3rd year students of Rambert School.

Producing Director Farooq Chaudhry

Executive Director Isabel Tamen

Project Manager Mashitah Omar

Technical Director Zeynep Kepekli

Technical Manager Michael Cunningham

Touring Production Manager and Prop Maker Marek Pomocki

Lighting Engineer Stephane Dejours

Sound Engineer Philip Wood

Video Technician and Projectionist Matthew Armstrong

Technical Stage Manager Samuel Collier

Co-produced by Curve Leicester, Attiki Cultural Society – Greece, Birmingham Hippodrome, Edinburgh International Festival, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance – Chicago, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – New York, Maison de la Danse / Pôle européen de création – Lyon, National Arts Centre – Canada, New Vision Arts Festival – Hong Kong, Orsolina28, Pfalzbau Bühnen – Theater im Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen, Romaeuropa Festival, Stanford Live / Stanford University, Teatros del Canal – Madrid, théâtre de Caen, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris.

The technical adaptation of Jungle Book reimagined is kindly supported by Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. With the support of Garfield Weston Foundation, Genesis Foundation and Angela Bernstein CBE

Supported by Arts Council England

Special thanks to Thomasin Gülgeç, Lucia Chocarro, Fukiko Takase, Vanessa Vince-Pang, Tina and Richard Fagan, Sue Buckmaster, The Coronet Theatre, University of Roehampton, Mr. & Mrs. Khan, Yuko Khan, Sayuri, Kenzo & Ayana Khan, Amanda Britton, Darren Ellis, Sharon Watson, Ann David, Anda Winters, Ella Roberts, Anna CY Chan and all the students of Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts that took part in creation rehearsals, and all the 3rd year students of Northern School of Contemporary Dance (2021-2022) and 3rd year students of Rambert School (2021-2022) who worked on the R&D residency with Akram.

Jocelyn Pook’s music © Copyright 2022 Chester Music Limited

Music recorded by Singers Tanja Tzarovska, Melanie Pappenheim, Sushma Soma, Sohini Alam, Voya Zivkovic

Musicians Jocelyn Pook (piano, viola, voice, keyboards), Mulele Matondo (guitar and sanza), Belinda Sykes (shawm and gralla)

Recording and mixing Steve Parr

“How Dare You?”, Greta Thunberg, recording property of United Nations

"Blah, blah, blah”, speech by Greta Thunberg


Website


Director/Choreographer Akram Khan

Creative Associate/Coach Mavin Khoo

Writer Tariq Jordan

Dramaturgical Advisor Sharon Clark

Composer Jocelyn Pook

Sound Designer Gareth Fry

Lighting Designer Michael Hulls

Visual Stage Designer Miriam Buether

Art Direction and Director of Animation Adam Smith (YeastCulture)

Producer/Director of Video Design Nick Hillel (YeastCulture)

Rotoscope Artists/Animators Naaman Azhari, Natasza Cetner, Edson R Bazzarin

Rehearsal Directors Nicky Henshall, Andrew Pan, Angela Towler

Dancers Maya Balam Meyong, Tom Davis-Dunn, Harry Theadora Foster, Filippo Franzese, Bianca Mikahil, Max Revell, Matthew Sandiford, Pui Yung Shum, Elpida Skourou, Holly Vallis, Jan Mikaela Villanueva, Luke Watson

Producing Director Farooq Chaudhry

Executive Director Isabel Tamen

Project Manager Mashitah Omar

Co-produced by Curve Leicester, Attiki Cultural Society – Greece, Birmingham Hippodrome, Edinburgh International Festival, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance – Chicago, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – New York, Maison de la Danse / Pôle européen de création – Lyon, National Arts Centre – Canada, New Vision Arts Festival – Hong Kong, Orsolina28, Pfalzbau Bühnen – Theater im Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen, Romaeuropa Festival, Stanford Live / Stanford University, Teatros del Canal – Madrid, théâtre de Caen, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris.

The technical adaptation of Jungle Book reimagined is kindly supported by Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

With the support of Garfield Weston Foundation, Genesis Foundation and Angela Bernstein CBE

Supported by Arts Council England


Brochure


Director/Choreographer Akram Khan

Creative Associate/Coach Mavin Khoo

Writer Tariq Jordan

Dramaturgical Advisor Sharon Clark

Composer Jocelyn Pook

Sound Designer Gareth Fry

Lighting Designer Michael Hulls

Visual Stage Designer Miriam Buether

Art Direction and Director of Animation Adam Smith (YeastCulture)

Producer/Director of Video Design Nick Hillel (YeastCulture)

Rotoscope Artists/Animators Naaman Azhari, Natasza Cetner, Edson R Bazzarin

Dancers Maya Balam Meyong, Tom Davis-Dunn, Harry Theadora Foster, Filippo Franzese, Bianca Mikahil, Max Revell, Matthew Sandiford, Pui Yung Shum, Elpida Skourou, Holly Vallis, Jan Mikaela Villanueva, Luke Watson

Co-produced by Curve Leicester, Attiki Cultural Society – Greece, Birmingham Hippodrome, Edinburgh International Festival, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance – Chicago, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – New York, Maison de la Danse / Pôle européen de création – Lyon, National Arts Centre – Canada, New Vision Arts Festival – Hong Kong, Orsolina28, Pfalzbau Bühnen – Theater im Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen, Romaeuropa Festival, Stanford Live / Stanford University, Teatros del Canal – Madrid, théâtre de Caen, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris.

The technical adaptation of Jungle Book reimagined is kindly supported by Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

With the support of Garfield Weston Foundation, Genesis Foundation and Angela Bernstein CBE

Supported by Arts Council England

 

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