Laban Theatre and Lizzi Kew-Ross present Without Warning

Laban Theatre and Lizzi Kew-Ross present Without Warning
Thursday 11 & Friday 12 November, 18.45h, 20.00h, 21.15h
Laban Theatre, Laban, Creekside, London SE8 3DZ
Tickets: £12 (£8 concessions)
Booking: 020 8305 9500 or

Laban Theatre is proud to present the powerful Without Warning, the first professional production wholly commissioned and produced by the leading South East London venue. This intriguing dance and music collaboration is inspired by the author Brian Keenan's experience as a hostage in Beirut. Using the stage space in a unique way, the audience is immersed as eye-witness. The performance is accompanied by Peter Anderson's Darkroom, an exhibition of photographs that intimately capture the cast in rehearsal.

Without Warning is performed and devised by an outstanding cast of alumni from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, led by choreographer Lizzi Kew-Ross. Four dancers and four musicians enter the anguished territory of being relegated to 'meat'. Working with images from An Evil Cradling, Keenan's compelling account of his four and a half years in captivity, Without Warning explores how the mind and spirit find ways to claw back reality, half-reality and meaning.

An original sound score frames the work. Voice, strings and percussion become a conduit for rage and resistance, playing out the erratic states of euphoria, ridiculousness, compassion and uncertainty. The musicians enter the performance stage; they aren't accompanists on the sidelines. The music pushes the dance; the dance pushes the music.

Without Warning began in 2007 as a collaboration between two Trinity Laban staff members: choreographer Lizzi Kew-Ross and Dominic Murcott, Head of Composition. The aim was to find collaborative possibilities between their two art forms, music and dance. They wanted a source that would be equally new to both of them, and a subject that could be encapsulated in one word.

The word they chose was 'Hostage'. It was at this time that Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist, was kidnapped in Gaza; hostages were (and are still) at play in the politics and configuring of Iraq.

Some years ago, Lizzi read Kennan's An Evil Cradling. Its poetic images and huge emotional landscape have stayed with her. Lizzi says: "Looking back to my first reading of An Evil Cradling, I am struck by something Keenan said in the Dutch Embassy in Damascus just after his release:
I felt like a cross between Humpty Dumpty and Rip Van Winkle - I have fallen off the wall and suddenly awake I find all the pieces of me, before me.
There are more parts than I began with.
All the King's horses, and all the King's men, cannot put Humpty together again.
It's from this epigraph and the power, honesty and poetry of Keenan's text that Without Warning takes shape."

The company comprises percussionist James Keane (Hofesh Shechter, Political Mother), vocalist Natasha Lohan (Crash Ensemble), cellist and vocalist Laura Moody (the Elysian Quartet), baritone Peter Willcock and dance artists Sonia Rafferty (V-Tol Dance Company), Megan Saunders, Daisy Thompson and Simon Wehrli.

Accompanying the performance is Darkroom by Peter Anderson, an exhibition of black and white photographs of the Without Warning cast in rehearsal. A staff photographer for NME in the 1980s, Peter is known for his striking portraits of musical icons including Madonna and Mick Jagger. Darkroom will be displayed in a black box installation in the Laban foyer from 25 October to 12 November, and entry is free (Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm; Thursday 11 and Friday 12 November, 10am-9pm).

For information on all Laban Theatre events, please click here.

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