Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael have the world at their fingertips ~ Arpita Ghosal

Arpita Ghosal

Arpita Ghosal

Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.

Kiss & Cry; photo by Maarten Vanden Abeele

Kiss & Cry; photo by Maarten Vanden Abeele

With Kiss & Cry, choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and award-winning filmmaker-director  Jaco Van Dormael have conceived a multimedia invention that defies description.

It is a dance–performed by fingers.

It is also live theatre . . .with a set of miniature landscapes created and recreated on stage.

And it is also a movie . . . with the finger-dances in the micro-world projected live onto a screen.

At its heart, this interdisciplinary work by the Belgian duo is a love story, depicted through an inventive combination of live cinematography, contemporary dance and poetic storytelling. The story involves an elderly woman Gisele (performed by De Mey) who reflects on her life and past romances, while waiting alone on the platform of a train station. “Where do people go when they disappear from our life, from our memory?” she wonders, recalling her first love at age 13, which was catalyzed by the brief brushing of hands with a boy on a crowded train.

Each character in Kiss & Cry is portrayed exclusively through “nanodanse” choreography: hands and fingers dancing on miniature landscapes. On stage, dancers and cameramen manipulate model cars, trains and lighting equipment while the two dancing hands are shown in close-up on screen, portraying a pair of lovers dancing around this shifting micro-landscape.

Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey; photo by JulienLambert

Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey; photo by Julien Lambert

Originally conceived in Mons, Belgium in 2011, the Dora-Award winning Kiss & Cry is returning to Toronto for a brief run as part of Canadian Stage’s current season. What’s more, it will be performed for the first time in its original French (with English surtitles) on February 5, co-presented with  Théâtre français de Toronto in the two companies’ first collaboration.

Following Kiss and Cry‘s 4-performance run, Canadian Stage will mount the North American premiere of Cold Blood, also by De Mey and Van Dormael. Neither a sequel nor an epilogue, Cold Blood pushes still further the boundaries of the cinematographic conventions featured in Kiss & Cry,  in order to explore the universal and uncertain last moments that people experience before death. According to the duo, this is a deliberate “contrast to the magical world tinged with childhood portrayed in Kiss & Cry. Cold Blood was conceived to depict a more cynical, darker universe posing questions around the functions and dysfunctions of our society.”  Their inspirations are drawn “from the imperfect, imaginary or premonitory worlds found in films such as Méliès’ The Impossible Voyage, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451.”

Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic Director of Canadian Stage, is excited: “We are revisiting the magical, multimedia world of Kiss & Cry – all while experiencing De Mey and Van Dormael’s phenomenal new creation Cold Blood, a Canadian Stage commission.” He describes both works  as “exemplary of Canadian Stage’s broad and genre-defying vision for contemporary performance”–and very much in keeping with the audiences’ expectations of the company.

A word to the wise… Cold Blood ends its run on February 14. Check it out now — it would be a true shame to wait another 4 years before being able to catch either of these inventive, description-defying works.

News You Can Use

ColdBlood, commissioned by Canadian Stage; photo by Julien-Lambert-Julien-Lambert

Cold Blood, commissioned by Canadian Stage; photo by Julien Lambert

What: Kiss & Cry

When: English Performances on February 4, 5*, 6 and 7, 2016

*French performance with English surtitles, Friday, February 5th at 7 PM  (pre-show chat at 6:15 PM),  co-presented by Théâtre français de Toronto and Canadian Stage

Who: Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael, in collaboration with Gregory Grosjean, Thomas Gunzig, Julien Lambert, Sylvie Olivé, Nicolas Olivier

What: Cold Blood

When: February 10 – 14, 2016

Who: Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael, in collaboration with Gregory Grosjean, Thomas Gunzig, Julien Lambert, Sylvie Olivé, Nicolas Olivier Thomas Beni, Gladys Brookfield-Hampson, Boris Cekevda, Gabriella Iacono, Aurélie Leporcq, Bruno Olivier, Stefano Serra

Where: Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., Toronto, ON

For information and Tickets: www.canadianstage.com

©2016 Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya

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