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Hold Me Tight

Conceived and directed by Naomi Bennett.

Devised with the EnsembleNadine Bedrossian, Sydney Berk, Andrew Diego, Andy Her, Hayley Hirsch, Tintin Nguyen, Jessica Miller, and Hanna Schultheis-Gerry

Performed by Andrew Diego, Andy Her, Hayley Hirsch, and Jessica Miller (with special appearance by Alexandra Garrett).

Original Music composed and performed by Tintin Nguyen. 

Arena Theater, California State University, Los Angeles, October 2014

Developed as part of an Artist-in-Residence at Schkapf Performance Incubator.

Performers Hayley Hirsch (left) and Jessica Miller (right)  in Hold Me Tight. Photo by Heather Fipps © all rights reserved.



Performers Jessica Miller and Hayley Hirsch (left) and Andrew Diego and Andy Her (right) in Hold Me Tight. Photo by Heather Fipps © all rights reserved.


Hold Me Tight is an exploration of the relationship of Christine and Léa Papin, two sisters in 1930s France who supposedly had an incestuous love affair and massacred their female boss, Madame Lancelin, and her adult daughter. The story of The Papin Sisters  has since transcended historical fact, having been reimagined through numerous films and theatrical performances. In nearly all retellings, the sexual relationship between the sisters is taken as fact. However, looking deeper into the historical events, we found that it was primarily based on two distinct events:

  1. In the weeks that led up to the attack and murder of the Lancelin women, Christine and Léa became more reclusive, spending their free time - a half day on Sunday when normal people attended church - alone in their room. In relation to this odd behavior, Madame Lancelin is quoted in saying that the sisters "looked at each other 'that' way."

  2. After the sisters were arrested, Christine is on record as saying: "In another life, i was my sister's husband" (Dans une autre vie, j’étais mon marie soeurs).

Devising Process


Hold Me Tight was created as a performance-as-research project to investigate the relationship between intense intimacy and intense violence through the story of the Papin Sisters, as well as devise a process of creating sustainable physical ensemble. The process became one deeply rooted in play, intimacy, and the basic human need for physical touch. 

Performer Andrew Diego and Andy Her (left) and Jessica Miller and Hayley Hirsch(right) in Hold Me Tight. Photo by Heather Fipps © all rights reserved.


Performer Hayley Hirsch as Madame Lancelin in Hold Me Tight. Photo by Heather Fipps © all rights reserved.

Hold Me Tight (trailer)

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