Late Shift Extra: In Parenthesis
Friday 16 May
18.00 – 22.00
‘you scramble forward and pretend not to see,
but ruby drops from young beech-sprigs –
are bright your hands and face’
For one night only, English National Ballet presents a site-specific performance inspired by David Jones’s seminal First World War poem, ‘In Parenthesis’.
Immerse yourself in a series of contemporary and classical dance pieces choreographed by acclaimed English National Ballet Associate Artist George Williamson. Performed for the first time, the work evokes the experience of soldiers in the First World War and will take place across the Gallery throughout the evening.
Performances take place concurrently from 18.00 – 20.40 in rooms 5, 12, 16, 20, 22. Each performance lasts 3 minutes and is repeated every 15 minutes. Visit in any order. The finale takes place in the Main Hall at 21.00. The documentary, In Search of David Jones: Artist, Soldier, Poet, will be screened at 18.00, 19.00, 20.00 in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre. Directed by Derek Shiel, 2008. 49 minutes.
The evening is part of the Gallery’s four-year programme of events commemorating the centenary of the conflict which includes the free exhibition The Great War in Portraits.
All activities are free. This event is part of Museums at Night.
THE MANY MEN SO BEAUTIFUL
Private John Ball, the protagonist of the poem, and his battalion assemble, march to Southampton, and sail at night across the Channel.
Music: Le Tombeau de Couperin: 1, Prelude, Maurice Ravel.
Dancers: Van Le Ngoc, Anton Lukovkin.
CHAMBERS GO OFF, CORPORALS STAY
The battalion receives instruction and training and travel towards the front, where John Ball has the shattering experience of a long-range heavy shell exploding nearby.
Music: Elizabeth Bay, Haushka.
Dancers: Joshua McSherry-Gray, Shevelle Dynott, Stephen Wilson, Pedro Lapetra.
LEAVE IT UNDER THE OAK
The men fight through the day and into the night. John Ball is wounded.
Music: Faun, Ólafur Arnalds.
Dancers: Jia Zhang, Daniele Silingardi.
MRS CALLAHAN PRAYS FOR THE DEAD
The woman is waiting.
Music: Pripyat, Haushka
Dancer: Nicola Henshall.
THE SECRET PRINCES BETWEEN THE LEANING TREES HAVE DIADEMS TO GIVE THEM
John Ball, wounded and surrounded by the dead, invokes an illusion of the Queen of the Woods. She gives tokens to his friends, so that at least in his mind their actions are honoured and not forgotten.
Music: Lament, Frank Bridge.
Dancers: Laurretta Summerscales, Max Westwell.
MAIN HALL, 21:00
Music: In Flanders Fields, The Greater Curse
Dancers: Daniele Silingardi, Joshua McSherry-Gray, Shevelle Dynott, Stephen Wilson, Pedro Lapetra, Max Westwell, Van Le Ngoc, Anton Lukovkin
A poet and painter, ‘In Parenthesis’ was David Jones’ first literary publication – a rich, beautiful and complex book-length poem that took him 20 years to write. It was published by Faber and Faber in 1937 with an introduction by T.S. Eliot who called it as a ‘work of genius’. It describes Jones’ experience of life on the front during the First World War.
Jones enlisted in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and served on the Western Front from December 1915 to March 1918. Like Jones, John Ball, the protagonist of ‘In Parenthesis’, served on the Western Front during the war and both were wounded in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Jones draws on his Welsh literary heritage in ‘In Parenthesis’, uses images from Shakespeare’s history plays and T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, and fuses them with soldiers’ slang from the war. The vision he creates is dense, fractured and intimate. It explores physical destruction, spiritual outrage and how to find goodness in a hateful life.
George Williamson - Associate Artist, English National Ballet
Whilst at English National Ballet School George won the Choreographic Competition for three consecutive years and the CTRL-ALT-SHIFT Award. Ballets created included, Round theCorner (2009) presented at the Peacock Theatre and the City of London Festival. In 2010 he created Ana-Chro-Po for English National Ballet School’s Summer performance. For Polish National Ballet he created Animus in 2011. For New English Ballet Theatre he created Threefold in 2012. Firebird was his first commission for English National Ballet which received its world premiere at the London Coliseum in March 2012. My First Cinderella, premiered at the Peacock Theatre on 27 March 2013 presented by English National Ballet and English National Ballet School. In 2013 George received a nomination for the Benois de la Danse Award for his creation of Firebird and created Tempus for The Queen’s Coronation Festival in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace. For Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company he created Dawn Dancesand most recently with the New York Choreographic Institute creating Four On TheFloor. Future projects include My First Ballet: Coppélia on a national tour of the UK.
This booklet was created in response to the Late Shift Extra: In Parenthesis, a late night event at the Gallery on Friday 16 May 2014.
All pictures by Simon Mooney