I Only Laugh to keep from weeping

Image Hydar Dewachi

Image Hydar Dewachi


Performers: José Tomas, Wilfred Petherbridge & Florence Blackmore

Originally created for the V&A, in response to the architectural and artistic context of the museum, I Only Laugh to Keep from Weeping, draws from the Vanitas Movement to explore how the concepts of beauty, excess, loss and ecstasy impact on the body in performance. I Only Laugh to Keep from Weeping lives in the edges between laughter and tears, between reality and fakery, between perfection and failure. Performers Florence Blackmore and José Tomás play with extreme femininity, to weaponise our sexuality, to a live musical score performed, arranged and composed by Wilfred Petherbridge. This dance work seeks to challenge visual traditions.

This project was supported by Wac Arts, Trip Space and Dance Research Studio. Thank you to Claudia Palazzo, Laura Nicol and Valerie Ebuwa.


Ryan Munroe: Costume

Wilfred Petherbridge: Composer/ Musician

Martin Hargreaves: Dramaturgy