Manual Cinema's Lula del Ray presents a new style of storytelling by combining the aesthetics of cinematography with those of live theatrical performance. The performers use overhead projections, puppets, transparencies, and live silhouettes to cast images and shadows onto a large screen creating a breathtaking spectacle that, if not for the performers on stage, could easily be mistaken for a digital animation. The puppeteer and actor's precision makes thetransitions from scene to scene and actor to puppet fluid enough to imply that the distance between their material realities is not so great. The three "old-school" manual overhead projectors keep the puppeteers in seeming constant motion from the opening scene to the ending credits.
Using body language and movement created a sense of narrative time even though there was very little dialogue. Lula and her mother are imbued with an overall empathy-creating liveliness that flows through every scene. By the end of the performance, not only have we been introduced to a new form of theatre one in which our emotional connection to characters iscreated and manipulated before our very eyes.
Although the narrative of Lula del Ray is simple and somewhat circular, the methods used to tell the story made it captivating. By explicitly revealing the actors, puppeteers, musicians and even crew members on stage, Lula del Ray transported its audience into two different environments at the same time: a world of imagination and wonder represented on screen, and another of technicality and precision represented on stage.