Kiss & Cry Invokes Wonder Through Unconventional Means

Colette Nakase ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Stage Editor

ArtsEmerson’s Kiss & Cry gives the audience a backstage pass to a theatrical film set, laying out every method and technique for us to scrutinize. However, despite our candid look, the performance never fails to instill glee and wonder in the audience.

Kiss & Cry tells a conventional story through unconventional means. Revolving around a girl and her five loves, the plot is told in a combination of dance and filmography with miniatures and hands as its core actors. While the story in itself is rather typical and full of tropes, it is the unique manner in which the tale is told that makes it so moving. The use of hands and miniatures as the on screen actors, while a bit jarring at first, in combination with a seemingly omniscient narrator, pulls the audience into a fairytale like world where hands can emote like people and the afterlife is spent on the beach.

The smoothness of the dancers’ hands and the amazing effects that transforms the live film onscreen are utterly spectacular and keeps the audience’s eyes glued to the performance, rather than the crew around it. However, the true beauty of Kiss & Cry can only be fully experience when witnessing the dance that goes on outside the camera’s view. The intimacy of the dancers’ hands in a pas de deux on screen carries with the same grace in the dancers themselves. The look of fear on the female dancer’s face mirrors the performance below, her hand shaking with dread as she lies next to her abusive boyfriend. It is this full bodied performance that makes Kiss & Cry shine and so emotionally affecting.

Kiss & Cry is a 90-minute, emotionally charged moment. It is poetry embodied by stage and screen and, by the time it was over, left the audience in immediate standing ovation. This work of art is only in Boston for two more nights, and this can’t be stressed enough: get your tickets now.

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