original idea Michèle Anne De Mey & Jaco Van Dormael
in collective creation with Michèle Anne De Mey, Grégory Grosjean, Thomas Gunzig, Julien Lambert, Sylvie Olivé, Nicolas Olivier, Jaco Van Dormael
choreography and NanoDanses Michèle Anne De Mey, Gregory Grosjean
directed by Jaco Van Dormael
text Thomas Gunzig
script Thomas Gunzig, Jaco Van Dormael
lighting Nicolas Olivier
camera Julien Lambert
focus puller Aurélie Leporcq
set designer Sylvie Olivé, assisted by Amalgames – Elisabeth Houtart & Michel Vinck
director’s assistants Benoît Joveneau, Caroline Hacq
sound design Dominique Warnier
sound Boris Cekevda
manipulations and performance Bruno Olivier, Gabriella Iacono, Pierrot Garnier
construction and props Walter Gonzales, Amalgames – Elisabeth Houtart & Michel Vinck
second set design Anne Masset, Vanina Bogaert, Sophie Ferro (intern design)
stage manager Nicolas Olivier
creative technicians Gilles Brulard, Pierrot Garnier, Bruno Olivier
music George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Arvo Pärt, Michael Koenig Gottfried, John Cage, Carlos Paredes, Tchaikovsky, Jacques Prévert, Ligeti, Henryk Gorecki, George Gershwin
narrator Angelo Bison
production Charleroi Danses, manège.mons – Centre Dramatique
coproduction Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
with the support of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Wallonie Bruxelles International
in collaboration with Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
Michèle Anne De Mey is associate artist at Charleroi Danses, the Choreographic Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation
Running time 1h 30′
Photo Maarten Vanden Abeele
While attending Kiss & Cry, the audience is invited to watch a thoroughly distinctive choreographic performance at the same time as they see a film being made and screened in the background. Various codes come together: real cinematographic writing, the stage presence of theatre and the sensory register of dance. The sensual presence of hands meeting, caressing and touching in their unsettling nakedness comes into play; the atypical set in which they move, made from dolls’ houses and miniature figures, testifies to work of absolute precision.
It offers a new language, a new way of telling a story that pushes the boundaries between genres and opens up the imagination.
Kiss & Cry is an ambitious show carried by a group of people who disturb the boundaries between artistic disciplines to create a show before your very eyes: different and unique every day.
The basic premise of Kiss & Cry is simple, the kind of simplicity that forges universal tales. “Where do people go when they disappear from our life, from our memory?” This is the question haunting a woman as she waits alone on the platform of a train station. She thinks of all the people who have disappeared from her life; people who have vanished in the haze of existence. The people she once met and no longer thinks about. The people she has dreamed of. The people who were wiped out, torn abruptly from life by a jolt of fate or even those who have been with her for a while and from whom she has parted company due to weariness or disenchantment. “Where are they? Lost in the deep dark recesses of your memory” concludes the voiceover. Literally a drawer of memories opens…
There were three, then four, then five, then six of us… Jaco, Grégory, Michèle Anne, then Thomas, then Nicolas, then Sylvie.
There were toys, sand, earth… doll’s houses, shells… plexiglas, mirrors… electric trains… There was a camera, torches, Christmas lights…
There were dancing hands.
There was an attic filled with bric-à-brac collected from all over the place. The toys of children who have grown up, material, precious fabrics…
A shop of wonders.
And then tables, a screen, a camera.
There were three, then four, then five, then six of us… And we agreed to meet up in this attic.
Four or five or six of us. And we played….
We let playing and imagination take over.
Sometimes the hands became fish in an aquarium, sometimes upside-down worlds took shape. Sometimes scenarios of chases in the desert, and sometimes words written by Thomas turned up and inspired us.
There were three, then four, then five, then six of us… We played, we danced, we filmed on the tables… In an attic, lots of little worlds took shape… Working drafts towards a constantly evolving show.
Later, there were seven, eight, nine, ten of us… Julien on images, Bruno, Aurélie etc.
And to produce a show based on memory, and helped by the research done in the attic, everyone wrote and created – a screenplay, a text, a choreography for hands, sets and models, lighting and stage devices, a soundtrack…
Like the five fingers on a hand, what we each wrote came together to become just one: a “show”.
Kiss & Cry was performed for the first time before an audience on 20 March 2011 in Mons.
Kiss & Cry is distinctive by being an atypical show. Because the audience watches a feature film being made live. Because the main characters are dancing hands. Because Thomas’s words and text resonate in us like music and a tune that we know and that speaks to us, just not as it usually does.
That’s what I feel when I dance and act in Kiss & Cry, and I confess that it is the most wonderful experience of collective creation I have ever had.
Thank you everyone!
Michèle Anne De Mey
Michèle Anne De Mey
Michèle Anne De Mey (Brussels – 1959) is a Belgian choreographer who from 1976 to 1979 studied at Mudra, the school founded by Maurice Béjart in Brussels. She took contemporary dance in a new direction with her early choreographies: Passé Simple (1981) and the duets Ballatum (1984) and Face à Face (1986). At the same time, she worked with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for six years on the creation and interpretation of several of her choreographies, namely Fase (1982), Rosas danst Rosas (1983), Elena’s Aria (1984) and Ottone, ottone (1988). Although special consideration is always given to the relationship between dance and music, the choreographic structure of Michèle Anne De Mey’s creations cultivates a strong theatrical content and places the dancer in a specific and innovative relationship between the stage and the audience. In 1990, she founded her own company and created Sinfonia Eroica. Fifteen more creations followed which met with international acclaim, among them Raining Dogs (2002), Utopie (2001), Katamenia (1997), Pulcinella (1994), Love Sonnets (1994), Châteaux en Espagne (1991) and Cahier (1995). Her teaching contribution has also been significant (in Amsterdam, at INSAS in Brussels, CNDC in Angers and École en Couleurs). For three years, she worked with the children at École en Couleurs on the elaboration of Sacre en Couleurs, a creation presented on the occasion of Bruxelles/Brussel 2000. Her choreographic work has been the starting point for several films, such as Love Sonnets and 21 Études à danser by Thierry De Mey, and Face à Face by Eric Pauwels. Using the force of music to create her choreographic universe, she has worked with the renowned composers Thierry De Mey, Robert Wyatt and Jonathan Harvey. For several years, she has been working in close collaboration with other artists such as Simon Siegmann, Stéphane Olivier and Grégory Grosjean. In June 2006 she recreated one of her seminal pieces from the 1990s – Sinfonia Eroica – for nine dancers. This has gone on to be performed more than a hundred times all over the world. In December 2007 she created P.L.U.G, a show all about the mechanics of mating. Michèle Anne presented Koma, a solo for a female dancer, during the Made in Korea festival staged by BOZAR in June 2009. This solo is one of a series of four, with the other three by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Arco Renz and Thomas Hauert. Neige opened the Charleroi Danses Biennale in November 2009 before going on tour. For the VIA festival in March 2011, she worked with Jaco Van Dormael and in a group comprising Gregory Grosjean, Thomas Gunzig, Julien Lambert, Nicolas Olivier and Sylvie Olivé on Kiss & Cry, a highly original and ambitious show confronting film, dance, words, theatre and brilliant DIY. She presented her latest work Lamento in May 2012, a solo created for and performed by the dancer Gabriella Iacono based on Monteverdi’s Lamento d’Arianna.
Michèle Anne De Mey is now associate artist at Charleroi Danses, the Choreographic Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
Jaco Van Dormael
Jaco Van Dormael was born on 9 February 1957 in Ixelles, Belgium and spent part of his childhood in Germany. After studying film at Louis-Lumière in Paris and INSAS in Brussels, he became a children’s theatre director and clown. He has written and directed several fictional short films and documentaries – Maedeli-La-Breche (1980), Stade (1981), L’imitateur (1982), Sortie de secours (1983), È pericoloso sporgersi (1984) and De Boot (1985) – before going on to write and direct three feature-length films: Toto the Hero (1991) with Michel Bouquet which won a Caméra d’or award at the Cannes Film Festival, The Eighth Day with Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil (1996) which won the best actor prize (ex æquo) at Cannes, and Mr. Nobody (2009) with Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger and Lin Dan Pham which won a prize at the Venice Film Festival and three prizes at the Magrittes awards ceremony (best film, best director and best original screenplay), as well as the Audience Prize at the European Film Awards. Jaco Van Dormael has also directed for theatre, including Est-ce qu’on ne pourrait pas s’aimer un peu? with Eric De Staerke. In 2012 he directed his first opera, Stradella by César Franck, to mark the reopening of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège. In the dreamy atmosphere of his productions, Jaco Van Dormael explores the power of the imagination and the contribution of childhood. In under thirty years he has developed a poetic and ambitious world of his own with non-linear narrative forms. He lives with the choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and has two daughters, Alice and Juliette. His brother Pierre Van Dormael (1952-2008) was a composer and jazz guitarist.
After studying at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Grégory pursued a career in classical dance with various companies in Spain, Belgium, Scotland and Japan. In 2001, he joined Michèle Anne De Mey, working with her on six new works as a dancer and artistic adviser. These include Utopie, Raining Dogs and 12 easy waltzes in a duet with Michèle Anne and, most recently, the collective creation Kiss & Cry.
Sylvie Olivé is a set creator for film and stage. Her career began in theatre as assistant to the stage designer Dominique Pichou in 1987, before moving to film in 1990 with sets for Christian Vincent’s film La discrète. She recently designed the sets for Régis Roinsart’s first film, Populaire, earning herself a César nomination in 2013. She won the award for the best set design at the 66th Venice Film Festival in 2009 for Jaco Van Dormael’s last film, Mr Nobody. She has also worked as a set designer on the collective creation Kiss & Cry. Most recently, she created the sets for Guillaume de Gallienne’s film Les Garçons et Guillaume à table. Sylvie Olivé created the set for Neige by the choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and for the ballet Le Corsaire by Kader Belarb, as well as for the play La Fausse Suivante directed by Lambert Wilson.
Her career has taken her to New York, Montreal, Berlin and Brussels. Alongside her established work, she has also been very involved in working in contemporary dance and experimental performing arts.
After studying painting at the 75 in the early 1990s, Nicolas Olivier trained in set design and stage direction at INFAC. Meeting the stage director Daniel Scahaise in 1993 marked a crucial turning point in his career, with Scahaise steering him towards lighting. Between 1993 and 1999 he gained experience as a lighting operator, honing his skills. Notable collaborations include with Pascale Vyvere, Pierre Aucaigne (Momo), Toots Thielemans and Stephane Steeman.
From 1999 to 2013, he was initially the lighting designer and then the stage manager at Charleroi Danses. During this period, he worked closely with Frédéric Flamand, Wim Vandekeybus, Mossoux-Bonté, Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael on shows such as Kiss & Cry and Neige. Now freelance, he is part of the Groupe Entorse which creates hybrid pieces, dances, music and lighting. Notable lighting designs include César Franck’s opera Stradella staged by Jaco Van Dormael for the reopening of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie.
In theatre he has collaborated on David Strosberg’s Lettre à Cassandre, and on Les 1001 nuits directed by Dominique Serron. In another genre completely, his stage design and lighting are to be used on tour by Liège rock group My Little Cheap Dictaphone.
Nicolas Olivier’s lighting designs are more like architectural constructions than set designs in the strict sense. He continually demonstrates his interest in the encounter between bodies, dance, the voice, video, architecture and various performing arts disciplines.
Thomas Gunzig was born in Brussels in 1970 and graduated with a degree in political science (international relations). He embarked on his writing career with a collection of short stories entitled Situation instable penchant vers le mois d’août which won the City of Brussels student writer’s prize in 1994. This was the first of many publications and literary awards. His writing has since diversified, from short stories to a novel (Mort d’un parfait bilingue, Rossel Prize 2001) and from radio fiction to a book for young people (Nom de code: Superpouvoir, 2005), by way of musical theatre (Belle à mourir, staged at Le Public in 1999). He also worked with Jaco Van Dormael, Harry Clevens and Comès on a film adaptation of the comic strip Silence in 2006. His works have been adapted for the stage in France and Belgium. In 2008, he trod the boards himself for the first time in his own play Les Origines de la vie, which he directed with Isabelle Wery. His Spiderman has also been adapted for the screen by Christophe Perié in a Jan Kounen production. His books have been translated into several languages, including German, Russian, Italian and Czech. There is also an educational dimension to Thomas Gunzig’s work as he regularly runs writing workshops and gives lectures in Belgium and abroad. He also gives classes on literature at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels (La Cambre) and on storytelling at the Institut Supérieur Saint-Luc in Brussels. He puts a great deal of effort into supporting writers within SCAM (the Civil Society of Multimedia Authors) and was elected its vice-president in 2007. Thomas Gunzig has also become something of a media personality: he is a columnist for various newspapers and magazines, his voice has been heard for five years on RTBF’s radio waves in Jeu des Dictionnaires and now, on Matin Première, he paints a picture of the day’s guest in his Café Serré.
Julien Lambert was born in 1983 in Normandy, a place that has definitely shaped his particular taste for landscapes with changing light. It is also steeped in a modern history which has left a lasting mark. The humane approach he takes to his work is associated as much with the way he collaborates with and learns from his colleagues as it is with the kind of commitment demanded by the work of a cameraman.
Specialising early on in images, Julien learnt his craft at INSAS in Brussels, a place where he encountered his peers working in different art forms: fictional and documentary film, dance, the performing arts and music. Like any good craftsman, he refined his tools by taking them apart; for him nothing could be more natural than understanding a camera down to its tiniest detail. However for Julien the basic essentials are elsewhere: they can be found in the journey you take getting there.