How tempting can a play about death be to watch, especially in the height of summer in Athens? If it’s a masterpiece characterised by talent and technique, detail and imagination, poetry and black humour, then the answer is …it’s surprisingly tempting!
Cold Blood, the new show by Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael’s was presented at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival in July. Two years after their Kiss and Cry performance at the Onassis Cultural Centre, the two artists return to Athens with their ensemble to invite us back into their magical universe. This time, the subject is the death of a human or the deaths of humans.
Seven strange deaths… Sudden, premature, slow, instantaneous, even stupid.The human anxiety about life; the need to love and be loved; a unique meeting with others creating human life and memories. They all look so small, both helpless and faceless. When the blood freezes and everything is past; when the microcosm of every human being seems like a paper toy floating in the air in the absence of gravity, it is as if it never existed.
The stories of seven deaths or seven lives, exceptionally portrayed by miniatures of great artistic value, are filmed on stage and streamed simultaneously live, by the well-trained technical staff of the group, while the Human in every story is played by a… wrist. A wrist driving a car, falling off a plane, walking among the buildings of the city, interpreting opera or being a pole dancer in an infamous bar.
Michèle Anne De Mey continues her research in the dance of hands and fingers providing us with a different perspective on the “whole“, which can also exist in the individual; like the plasticity of a dancer’s movement can be concentrated at their fingertips…
If film historian Marcel Martin’s definition of cinema as a “theater of skin” is confirmed in Katie Mitchell’s theatre (Miss Julie, Athens and Epidaurus Festival, 2012) then, in Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael’s case it gives substance and breath to “skin dance”;the kind of dance that can make the slightest possibility of expression come true.
The two artists manage to handle the scales of both art and life wisely and skilfully by realising that people’s lives and personal stories are nothing more than numerous, fragile toys in a huge children’s room. In other words, our life or personal story is a performance that will eventually end, or a dream we’ll simply wake up from at that very moment…