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Theater Preview: ‘Kiss & Cry’s’ sleight of hand

October 10, 2013

Published by Metro

Belgian artists create a ballet of the hands in “Kiss & Cry.” Quite literally.

The dancers in the ArtsEmerson presented show use their hands alone to portray the characters in this unusual love story.

“It’s the story of an old woman who remembers the first time she fell in love,” explains filmmaker Jaco Dormael, who created the show with choreographer Michele Anne De Mey.

The woman was 12-years-old when she touched the hand of a boy on a crowded train.

“She doesn’t remember the name of the boy, but she remembers how it felt, his hand,” says Dormael. “All her life she’s been looking at the hands of the men in her life.”

The show follows the five great loves of the woman’s life, and incorporates elements of cinema and theater along with dance. The audience watches light and camera crewmembers set up miniature sets for the hands to perform on. The performance is then filmed live — nothing is recorded in advance.

“On stage, you see the making of the film. At the same time, you see the result projected on a screen,” says Dormael.

Creating a film with a set the size of a table, using furniture fit for a dollhouse, was a challenge at first.

“Then we realized with tiny little sets, we can make a sky, a desert, the sea,” he says. “Everything is possible.”

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