The Ballet of the Nations
Wed, 14 November 5.30pm
Lecture Theatre 1, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UU
Actor Billy Zane narrates this 50-minute arthouse film in which war is imagined as a diabolical dance choreographed by Satan and Ballet Master Death.
The film was inspired by the pacifist satire, The Ballet of the Nations, written by Vernon Lee in 1915 and illustrated by Maxwell Armfield as a response to the outbreak of war. It begins with Satan and Ballet Master Death discussing how to reintroduce chaos into a complacent society. Satan instructs Ballet Master Death to assemble an orchestra of human passions (Fear, Panic, Suspicion, Hatred, Heroism, Murder etc.) to provide the music for a corps de ballet of Nations to perform the dance macabre of war. What follows is an often-humorous assembly of the orchestra, filmed in the atmospheric cavernous tunnels beneath Bristol Temple Meads.
The original publication was rooted in a culture of experimental performance that developed in Britain during the war, against the grain of mainstream theatre and often in sympathy with the wartime peace movement. Impermanence’s production reanimates that world of movement, sound and design, using the evidence of archives, art works, footage, photographs and illustrated books to develop a richly-textured evocation of the wartime artistic response.
It is our understanding that the venue is wheelchair accessible and has a hearing loop. Please see the DisabledGo report for more detailed information.