Arts London Preview Theatre travel

In London’s (Off) West End 2020: Lilith & KaraOkay at the Bunker Theatre (Preview)


LONDON – For week 6 of The Bunker’s Takeover, Sabrina Mahfouz (A History of Water in the Middle East, Royal Court) will use The Bunker as a platform for conversation with this double bill of works exploring issues around abortion, miscarriage, surrogacy, still-birth, infertility and shame. Hoping that this celebration of womxn’s bodies will encourage people to speak out, there will be a counsellor available post-show for anyone who feels a need to talk after seeing the performances.

Lilith & KaraOkay will be directed by multi Bafta-nominated director Sallie Aprahamian (Doctor Who, BBC; Poldark, BBC) who returns to the stage for the first time in 30 years. The cast for Lilith are Amber Aga (Shakespeare & Hathaway, BBC; The American Clock, The Old Vic), Simon Bubb (Obsession, October Films; W1A, BBC), Katy Cavanah-Jupe (Coronation Street, ITV; Murder on the Blackpool Express, UKTV), and Jake Davies (Black Mirror: Metalhead, Netflix; A Confession, ITV). Bringing KaraOkay to life will be Tanya Loretta Dee (Boots, The Bunker; Doctors, BBC) and Laura Hanna (A History of Water in the Middle East, Royal Court).

Lilith by Jennie Buckman is a lyrical, searing, transformational play that draws on the Jewish mythological figure of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who was created from the same earth as him. Considering herself an equal, she refused to take the subservient role in their marriage and was vilified as a sexually wanton night hag and baby killer.

Lilith takes place in a heightened present day, with Lilith working as a hotel room attendant while Adam runs the reception. Hotel guests Gloria and Ed have returned to the room where their daughter Eva was conceived some years earlier. Tragically, she was stillborn. Now, it is Ed’s fortieth birthday, and time to scatter Eva’s ashes. But, can things go to plan when so much has been left unsaid and Lilith’s ancient fury is simmering just below the surface?

Lilith was developed as a Giants Theatre production, supported by Arts Council England and in consultation with SANDS (the UK’s foremost stillbirth and neo-natal death society), completed shortly before Jennie’s death in January 2019. This will be the world premiere of the play and a celebration of Jennie’s astounding legacy to British theatre.

Accompanying Lilith is a short piece by Sabrina Mahfouz, KaraOkay, combining beloved karaoke classics with stories of abortion and miscarriage. Can we one day talk about these things as easily, if as awkwardly, as we can take part in karaoke?

Sabrina Mahfouz comments: “Womxn the world over still fight for autonomy over their bodies in all ways. With this Takeover week, I decided to platform stories, art and discussion that focuses on the many aspects of pregnancy that are still unfortunately taboo and often steeped in feelings of shame, despite their ubiquity. Abortion, miscarriage, surrogacy, still-birth and infertility will be spoken about, sung out loud and above all, any shame will be taken over with a celebration of womxn’s bodies and voices from the ancient myths to the legends of the future.”

Lilith & Karaoke runs from 10th to 14th March 2020 at at the Bunker Theatre. Tickets available here


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