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Why would a miniature world need a majestic stage?

Film-maker Jaco Van Dormael and choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey. Photo by Julien Lambert


Film-maker Jaco Van Dormael and choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey. Photo by Julien Lambert

Lights, camera, action! Fingers cavort in a delightful miniature setting, the cameras hover in time to the music, a voice narrates. Film-maker Jaco Van Dormael and choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey are filming right in front of your eyes.

A plane journey, a forest in the fog, seven unexpected deaths, all punctuated by the sudden realizations of a waking dream, Cold Blood unveils a series of different lives in a hypnotic story laced with offbeat humor.

With a certain lightness, life celebrates its final moments of happiness and memories file past, at times languid, at times more vibrant.  Existence stands still for a dance.

When death arrives, it is absurd, often trivial and sometimes comical.

Thomas Gunzig’s script tells us that “there are mechanical deaths, organic deaths, fragrant deaths, deaths in the dead of night, deaths experienced first-hand, silent deaths. And then there are erotic deaths”. This may be a world of death, but the dance is far from macabre. Oh no, it is a celebration of life, the senses, love, the final moments of light and the preceding memories.

“Is there life before death?” seems to be the question Cold Blood is asking us. The answer lies in these hands which are dancing before us, in these virtuoso fingers which are clinging to life and the beam of the spotlights.

The show explores the miniscule, surveys little worlds where life is viewed through a kaleidoscope. In this Lilliputian décor, hands intertwine then relax, touch each other and leave the scene, then come back before disappearing for good.

Under the direction of Michèle-Anne de Mey and Jaco Van Dormael, the Kiss & Cry group returns with its latest creation set in a studio where technicians film animated miniature worlds in full view of the audience.

Close up of the Cold Blood set at “night.” Photo by Julien Lambert

“We challenged ourselves to make a feature-length film on a kitchen table with a cast of dancing hands,” Jaco and Michèle Anne explained. “But unlike a regular film, the script was written at the end, once we had experimented with improvisation and suggestions from all members of the group. When the script was in place, we pulled together all the visuals. Yes, it is cinema but it is also much more. There is dance, but there is also more than dance. It is like a pop-up film in which the camera films things which are too small to be seen by the naked eye and the eye sees what the camera does not capture.”

Cold Blood takes us to the other side of the mirror, where moments are suspended in time, in a state of weightlessness. Behind the scenes we find a fantasy world, an optical illusion that reminds us of the wonder of childhood.

It is a show which appeals to all five senses. From the script:

“When people take their last breath, they expect to see their lives flash before them but this is not what happens. There is only one final image which takes them by surprise … the softness of skin on an afternoon which smells of vanilla, the noise of the sheep you are sheering, the smell of freshly-cut grass in the height of summer…”

“These unexpected memories are a reminder that we only die once because when the end comes, we do not know that it is the end. “

Cold Blood runs in the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre MAY 30 – JUN 3, 2018. Get tickets!

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