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Robert Lepage: Wikis


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Robert Lepage, CC, OQ (born December 12, 1957 in Québec City) is a playwright, actor and film director from Québec City, Québec, and is one of Canada's most honoured theatre artists.


Life and work

Lepage was raised in Québec City. At age five, he was diagnosed with a rare form of alopecia, which caused complete hair loss over his whole body. As a teenager he struggled with depression, and turned to drama classes to conquer his shyness.

Between 1975 and 1978, he studied theatre at Québec City's Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique. He subsequently participated in workshops at Alain Knapp's theatre school in Paris, France.

After coming back to Québec City, he wrote, directed and played in a few independent productions and joined Théâtre Repère in 1982. With that company, he created Circulations (1984), which was presented across Canada and won an award as best Canadian production during La Quinzaine Internationale de Théâtre de Québec. The following year, he created The Dragons' Trilogy and immediately received international recognition. Vinci (1986), Polygraphe (1987-1990) and Tectonic Plates (1988-1990) followed and were also toured around the world.

He was the artistic director of the National Arts Centre's Théâtre français in Ottawa from 1989 to 1993, and continued to stage plays. His productions of Needles and Opium, Coriolanus, Macbeth, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream were all created in that period.

In 1994, Lepage founded Ex Machina, a multidisciplinary production company, for which he is artistic director. Lepage and Ex Machina have toured numerous productions internationally to critical and popular acclaim, most notably The Seven Streams of the River Ota (1994) and Elsinore (1995). Lepage was invited in 1994 to direct August Strindberg's A Dream Play at Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm, Sweden. It premiered in the fall of 1994 and guest played in the spring of 1995 in Glasgow Scotland. Geometry of Miracles (1998) and The Far Side of the Moon (French: La Face cachée de la lune, 2000), a solo show in which he juxtaposed the Cold War competition of the Americans and the Soviets in the Space Race with the story of two Québécois brothers -- one straight, one gay -- and their competitive relationship after their mother's death. It went to win numerous awards, including four trophies at le Gala des Masques, a Time Out Award and the prestigious Evening Standard Award. The Far Side of the Moon was adapted by Lepage—who plays both brothers—into a critically acclaimed 2003 film of the same name.

Lepage has directed four other feature films: Le Confessionnal (1995), Le Polygraphe (1997), (1998) and Possible Worlds (2000), and has acted in films by other directors, notably Jésus de Montréal (1989) and Stardom (2001) by Denys Arcand.

He has also been involved in music productions, being the stage director for the critically acclaimed Secret World Tour by Peter Gabriel in 1993-1994, and the subsequent Growing Up tour in 2003-2004. He proved to be as gifted in opera as in theatre, staging Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung at the Canadian Opera Company, The Damnation of Faust in Japan and Paris, and Lorin Maazel's Nineteen Eighty-four at Covent Garden's Royal Opera House in London in 2005. Finally, Cirque du Soleil asked him to create the permanent Las Vegas show named at the MGM Grand in 2005.

The Andersen Project, his last solo play inspired by the life and works of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and his tale 'The Dryad', is set to have a long and prosperous life, similar to The Far Side of the Moon; it received many international prizes and, after being presented by Lepage himself in more than ten countries, is currently starring Yves Jacques who did the same in the past for The Far Side of the Moon.

Lipsynch, his large canvass work, premiered in its first version in Newcastle upon Tyne's Northern Stage in February 2007 in its 5 hours version; it is now 9 hours long. He also staged Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, which was presented in Brussels Opéra de la Monnaie in April 2007 and San Francisco War Memorial Opera House in November 2007.

Recent projects also include The Image Mill, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Québec City. For forty nights, residents and visitors could see the biggest outdoor architectural projection ever made in the world. In forty minutes, Robert Lepage and Ex Machina celebrated four centuries of human and materiel development right where the river narrows, on the banks of Bassin Louise, using the huge surface of the Bunge grain elevators as a giant screen. More than an historic tableau, The Image Mill is a light-hearted and lively illustration in three dimensions of the city's past, present and future. It is a mosaic of icons, sounds and ideas covering four great epochs in the progress of Québec City:

  • The age of waterways and exploration
  • The age of roads and settlement
  • The age of railroads and development
  • The age of air travel and communication

The first presentation of this original, larger than life portrait of Québec City took place at sundown on June 20, 2008, the evening of the summer solstice. It was planned at first that the show would be projected every evening until July 29, 2008. But because of its success, the projection was extended till the end of August and was extended again to September 8th, 2008. The soundrack was broadcasted simultaneously on CKIA-FM and all of this free of charge. The Image Mill was again presented in 2009, with a few improvements and new material.

On February 25, 2009, Robert Lepage premiered a new work entitled Eonnagata at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK. He has worked on this alongside the dancers Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, fashion designer Alexander McQueen, lighting designer Michael Hulls and sound designer Jean-Sebastien Cote.[1]

His production of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, conducted by Christopher Hogwood, was re-released at the Teatro Real, Madrid in January 2009.

In spring 2009, Lepage presented The Blue Dragon (Le Dragon Bleu), a sequel to his successful Dragons' Trilogy, in which he reprised (more than twenty years later) the role of Pierre Lamontage, a Québécois artist who lives in China.

In fall 2009, Robert Lepage directed The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, an operatic staging of short works by Stravinsky blending hand shadow puppetry, Kabuki theatre, Chinese opera and Vietnamese water puppetry. The Canadian Opera Company in Toronto premiered the work.[2] Lepage is currently working on Cirque du Soleil's next touring show, as well as on a new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner for the Metropolitan Opera of New York; both shows are set to be released in 2010.

In 2011, audiences will see him in Martin Villeneuve's Mars et Avril, a science fiction film based on the graphic novels of the same name.[3]


  • Le Dragon bleu (The Blue Dragon)
  • Lipsynch
  • Le Projet Andersen (The Andersen Project)
  • Busker's Opera
  • La Face cachée de la lune (The Far Side of the Moon)
  • La Casa Azul
  • Zulu Time
  • La Tempête (The Tempest)
  • La Géométrie des miracles (Geometry of Miracles)
  • Les Sept Branches de la Rivière Ota (The Seven Streams of the River Ota)
  • Elseneur (Elsinor)
  • Les Aiguilles et l'Opium (Needles and Opium)
  • Les Plaques tectoniques (Tectonic Plates)
  • La Trilogie des Dragons (The Dragons' Trilogy)
  • Le Polygraphe (Polygraph)
  • Vinci
  • Circulations




  • 1989: Jésus de Montréal
  • 1990: Ding et Dong le film
  • 1991: Montréal vu par...
    (segment "Desperanto")
  • 1992: Tectonic Plates
  • 1994: Bad Blood (aka Viper)
  • 2000: Stardom
  • 2003: The Far Side of the Moon
  • 2004: L'Audition
  • 2006: No-Vacancy
  • 2006: Dans les villes
  • 2007: La belle empoisonneuse
  • 2011 Mars et Avril (in post-production)




In 1994, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his particularly imaginative and innovative work".[4] In 1999, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. In 2001 he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[5] He was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009 "for his international contributions to the performing arts, particularly in film, theatre and opera, as an actor, producer and director".[6]

On April 29, 2007, he was awarded the European Commission's Europe Theatre Prize for 2007. The honours were to be shared between Lepage and German stage director Peter Zadek,[7] but Zadek did not show up and was not awarded the prize.[8]

In 2009, Lepage received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.[9] He could not attend the ceremony but accepted the award via a pre-recorded speech.[10]


Further reading

  • Patrick Caux & Bernard Gilbert. EX MACHINA: Creating for the Stage. Talonbooks, 2009. ISBN 978-0-88922-617-3
  • Dundjerovic, Aleksandar: The Cinema of Robert Lepage. The poetics of memory, Walflower Press, 2003; ISBN 1-903364-33-7
  • Dundjerovic, Aleksandar: The Theatricality of Robert Lepage, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007; ISBN 978-0- 7735-3251-9

External links


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