Robert Lepage (December 12, 1957 - ..)
Born: 12th December, 1957
Nationality: Canadian
Profession/Occupation: Playwright
Region: Quebec, Canada, Ginger Rogers - Facts , Jay Baruchel - Facts , Kaley Cuoco - Facts

Robert Lepage Facts

Biography

Robert Lepage, (born December 12, 1957, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), Canadian writer, director, designer, and actor known for his highly original stage and film productions, which often drew together disparate cultural references and unconventional media.

Early life and career

Lepage was raised in a working-class family in Quebec City. He graduated in 1978 from the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique du Quebec (now Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art Dramatique du Quebec). After studying in Paris with Swiss director Alain Knapp, Lepage in 1982 joined Theatre Repere in Quebec. This theatre company, founded by Jacques Lessard, relied on the active involvement of actors to discover the key object or pattern necessary to develop the production. In 1985 Lepage became artistic director of the company. That same year he staged a one-man show, Vinci, about a young photographer coping with a friend's suicide.

Lepage was noted for juxtaposing multicultural elements in his plays, often to surprising effect. His Dragon's Trilogy (1985) was staged partly in Chinese. For Tectonic Plates (1988; filmed 1992), which dealt with the collision of French Canadian and Scottish cultures, he used two pianos gliding across the stage to symbolize the continents of Europe and North America. Lepage left Theatre Repere to become head of the French theatre section of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 1989. There he staged Needles and Opium (1991), in which French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau and American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, both played by Lepage, exchanged places. Lepage envisioned the men in 1949 traveling between New York and Paris at the same time, both addicted to drugs. In 1992 Lepage sparked controversy at the British National Theatre by setting Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in a mud bath.

Ex Machina

Lepage returned to Quebec City in 1994 to found a new theatre company, Ex Machina, having left his position at the National Arts Centre the previous year. The company's first production, The Seven Streams of the River Ota (1994), used the bombing of Hiroshima as a metaphor for contemporary problems such as AIDS. The play, set in the home of a Jewish Czech photographer living in Japan, revealed the story line through a series of flashbacks. In 1997 the company moved into its new headquarters, Le Caserne Dalhousie. The building, a renovated firehouse, housed Lepage's scenery production workshop and film studio in addition to a theatre.

Many of the plays staged by Ex Machina were written and directed by Lepage, sometimes in collaboration with other members of the company. La Geometrie des miracles (1998; The Geometry of Miracles) centred on the relationships between the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his acolytes. The abstracted Zulu Time (1999) put Lepage's trademark facility with lighting and intricately composed video projections on full display to tell the stories of a cast of characters ranging from flight attendants to terrorists. A 2004 production, The Busker's Opera, restyled John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) to feature a group of modern musicians. The Andersen Project (2005), in which Lepage also appeared, wove together several Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. Always intrigued by straining the boundaries of convention, Lepage staged Lipsynch, a nine-hour production, in 2007, and Eonnogata, the story of cross-dressing spy Charles de Beaumont, in 2009.

Opera and film

While working in the theatre, Lepage also was involved with a number of opera productions. In 1993 he directed the Canadian Opera Company's productions of Bela Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle and Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung. In 2005 at Covent Garden in London he staged 1984, an opera based on George Orwell's novel, and in 2007 Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.

Lepage also worked in film, first appearing in Jesus of Montreal (1988) as an actor playing Pontius Pilate in a Passion play. Le Confessional (1995), which Lepage wrote and directed, created parallels between the events surrounding the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess (1952) and the lives of his contemporary characters. Based on Lepage's 1987 play, Le Polygraphe (1996) was a metaphysical detective story sparked by the murder of one of his friends. Possible Worlds (2000), based on a John Mighton play, plotted several permutations of the existence of one couple, played by Tilda Swinton and Tom McCamus. Lepage wrote and directed La Face cachee de la lune (2003; The Far Side of the Moon), which also featured him in the roles of the two main characters; it was based on his play of the same name (2000).

Lepage applied his theatrical abilities to a multitude of other endeavours. He staged tours for British rock singer Peter Gabriel in 1993 and 2002 and, in 2005, premiered KA, a Cirque du Soleil production that he had designed, in Las Vegas. In 2008 he designed a massive light installation, The Image Mill, that projected scenes of Quebec's history onto the side of a building in Quebec City.

Der Ring des Nibelungen and later work

Lepage later directed a production of Richard Wagner's operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City that featured a controversial 90,000-pound (40,823-kg) stage set made up of 24 pivoting planks on which images were projected and actors walked or dangled. Das Rheingold premiered in 2010, Die Walkure and Siegfried in 2011, and Gotterdammerung in 2012. The complete cycle began in the spring of 2012 and had a revival in 2013 and 2019.

In 2017 Lepage staged a one-person autobiographical play, 887, in New York City and Toronto. The following year he faced criticism regarding his casting of two productions. SLAV, a performance inspired by traditional African American slave songs, featured Caucasian actors in the roles of slaves, and the resulting uproar resulted in the production being shuttered after two shows. Soon after, Lepage came under criticism for his forthcoming play Kanata because he neglected to cast indigenous Canadian actors in a work inspired by their suffering. He canceled the production after several producers pulled out of the project. Both controversies raised complicated debates regarding inclusion and cultural appropriation that remained unresolved when Lepage premiered a retooled version of the latter play in Paris at the end of 2018. The revised work, Kanata--Episode 1--The Controversy, received less attention than its predecessor, though it also excluded members of Canada's indigenous population. Most critics panned the introduction of a subplot in which a nonindigenous artist is censored for painting indigenous subjects. Amid a contentious year, Lepage managed to stage a well-received production of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus at the Stratford Festival in Ontario.

Legacy

For his contributions to the performing arts in Canada, Lepage received the National Arts Centre Award in 1994 and the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in 2009, both of which are presented by the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994 and promoted to Companion in 2009. Lepage was later awarded the Glenn Gould Prize in 2013.

Top 100 Robert Lepage quotes

In everything I've done, I've always tried to make room for indigenous people, to include them.
Always
Done
Everything
Include
Indigenous
Indigenous people
Make
People
Room
Them
Tried
My naivety is to assume people will think there's compassion and solidarity in wanting to play someone even though we are not them.
Assume
Compassion
Even
People
Play
Solidarity
Someone
Them
Think
Though
Wanting
Will
With the social media phenomenon, where people's opinions inform so much of what we do with our lives, where the number of 'likes' decides what we should program, I cringe.
Cringe
Decide
Inform
Likes
Lives
Media
Much
Number
Opinions
Our
Our lives
People
Phenomenon
Program
The thing that's interesting about Trump is that when you read 'Coriolanus,' you'd be tempted to draw parallels. But I don't do that.
About
Draw
Interesting
Parallels
Read
Tempted
Thing
Trump
You
The extraordinary context of 'Coriolanus' is that it's the first republic - it's the first attempt to create a society not ruled by a monarch. It changes the whole system, and you see how the establishment reacts to that, how they have disdain but play along - and you recognize this is the whole American republican system.
Along
American
Attempt
Changes
Context
Create
Disdain
Establishment
Extraordinary
First
How
Monarch
Play
Recognize
There's not a system better than another. There are some people better than others. I'm not anti-democracy, but there's no real system yet that has proven itself to be the right one.
Another
Better
Itself
Others
People
Proven
Real
Right
Right one
Some
Some people
System
Than
I never went through a gender identity problem, but I did with my sexuality.
Did
Gender
Identity
Never
Problem
Sexuality
Through
I never questioned if I was effeminate or not. That didn't matter in the theatre.
Effeminate
Matter
Never
Questioned
Theatre
When I went into the conservatory at 17, then I was able to open up and accept everything about myself and show my feminine side as well as my masculine.
Able
About
Accept
Conservatory
Everything
Feminine
Masculine
Myself
Open
Show
Side
Then
Up
Well
There is a way to grow old and still have dignity.
Dignity
Grow
Old
Still
Way
As a kid, my dad moved us to the upper town, which was in a higher class of people, and we would see the lower town below. Every day, we could see where we came from and where we were now.
Below
Came
Class
Could
Dad
Day
Every
Every day
Higher
Kid
Lower
Moved
Now
People
I never thought of my father when I was growing up. Truly. He was a strong, silent man who worked hard to support his family.
Family
Father
Growing
Growing up
Hard
He
His
Man
Never
Silent
Strong
Support
Thought
Truly
I always thought I was more of a mommy's boy, because she was charming, talkative, a great storyteller. But as I dug back into my past, I realized I am exactly like my father on so many levels, although I never thought I inherited anything from him.
Although
Always
Am
Anything
Back
Because
Boy
Charming
Dug
Exactly
Father
Great
Him
I am
My father had barely any education. He could hardly write or count. But his great pride was that he was perfectly bilingual. In the household, he entertained this idea that we had to speak both languages.
Any
Barely
Bilingual
Both
Could
Count
Education
Entertained
Father
Great
Great pride
Had
Hardly
He
If you decide to work with the opera world, chances are there are going to be people who resist that.
Chances
Decide
Going
Opera
People
Resist
Who
Work
World
You
The safety prospects in 'Ka' are the highest in the world.
Highest
Prospects
Safety
World
The first 'Ring' in Bayreuth was about the poetical world, the mythological world.
About
First
Poetical
Ring
World
I had been warned by other directors that opera is hell. The singers don't want to do what you want.
Been
Directors
Had
Hell
Opera
Other
Singers
Want
Warned
You
Theatre is different. We can spend two weeks around a table talking about subtext. In opera, there is a score, and people already know their parts. And they move differently. I find all this liberating.
About
Around
Different
Differently
Find
Know
Liberating
Move
Opera
Parts
People
Score
Spend
Subtext
A lot of people hated every moment of my 'Ring.' And a lot of people who had never been to an opera bought subscriptions to the next season.
Been
Bought
Every
Had
Hated
Lot
Moment
Never
Next
Opera
People
Ring
Season
Who
I was a privileged observer to be there when Celine Dion opened at Caesars Palace and then the second Gulf War started. It was an odd thing to see the impact both events had on Vegas. The place was riding high after Celine, but overnight, once war was declared, it was deserted.
After
Both
Deserted
Events
Gulf
Gulf war
Had
High
Impact
Observer
Odd
Odd thing
Once
Opened
In Las Vegas, you confront yourself with your darkest desires, because they're all possible there.
Because
Confront
Darkest
Desires
Las vegas
Possible
Vegas
You
Your
Yourself
Vegas is a testing ground for the human soul. What are our values, especially in a time of crisis? Work with Cirque du Soleil, and you learn that quickly. The former socialist street performers who now throw parties by the pool with Brazilian models, oh yes!
Brazilian
Crisis
Former
Ground
Human
Human soul
Learn
Models
Now
Oh
Our
Parties
Performers
Pool
Everybody loves Vegas, and everybody puts it down, especially intellectuals and artists. We have to rub our feet on it, but we're all secretly thrilled to be there.
Artists
Down
Everybody
Feet
Intellectuals
Loves
Our
Puts
Rub
Secretly
Thrilled
Vegas
I'm not good at entertainment. I don't give myself to all the interviews, game shows, or talk shows.
Entertainment
Game
Game shows
Give
Good
Interviews
Myself
Shows
Talk
Talk shows
I'm not good at doing show business; I'm a theatre person. I don't reveal anything about my life.
About
Anything
Business
Doing
Good
Life
My life
Person
Reveal
Show
Show business
Theatre
Nothing is worse than having your dreams come true.
Come
Dreams
Having
Nothing
Than
True
Worse
Your
Your dreams
I'm a follower of people not necessarily connected with the theater.
Connected
Follower
Necessarily
People
Theater
For me, theater will always be very, very much alive, but not necessarily in the theatrical tradition.
Alive
Always
Me
Much
Necessarily
Theater
Theatrical
Tradition
Very
Will
My taste comes from when I was 12 years old and saw Genesis or Laurie Anderson or some performance artist who had put paint on himself. I've seen a lot of theater, but that's not what woke up my taste to become a director; nontheatrical things were much more theatrical than the theater I was seeing.
Anderson
Artist
Become
Director
Genesis
Had
Himself
Lot
More
Much
Old
Paint
Performance
Put
Of course theater will always be associated intimately to literature, but the themes or whatever have to penetrate you by the senses. Theater is a sensuous experience, and that's its main difference from film or any other dramatic art.
Always
Any
Art
Associated
Course
Difference
Dramatic
Experience
Film
Literature
Main
Other
Penetrate
Senses
A show is good when there is a meeting of time and space, when time and space become irrelevant.
Become
Good
Irrelevant
Meeting
Show
Space
Time
Time and space
I've always been a little scared of technology, which is why I explore it.
Always
Been
Explore
Little
Scared
Technology
Which
Why
Theater originated with technology. People forget that.
Forget
Originated
People
Technology
Theater
The first time someone stood up in front of the fire and told the story while illustrating it with shadows on the walls of the quarry, that was the birth of theater.
Birth
Fire
First
First time
Front
Shadows
Someone
Stood
Story
Theater
Time
Up
Walls
While
Technology can become a crutch. Sometimes it's there just to hide behind when you're shy of what you're trying to say.
Become
Behind
Crutch
Hide
Just
Say
Shy
Sometimes
Technology
Trying
You
'The Blue Dragon' uses very filmic language and involves a lot of technology. It is more cinematic than theatrical and was inspired by comic strips and graphic novels.
Blue
Cinematic
Comic
Comic strips
Dragon
Graphic
Graphic novels
Inspired
Involves
Language
Lot
More
Novels
Strips
When we were working on 'River Ota' in the '90s, I learnt to read Japanese, which was how I discovered that it incorporates elements of Chinese calligraphy.
Chinese
Discovered
Elements
How
Japanese
Learnt
Read
River
Were
Which
Working
When we work on a new theatre piece, we improvise a lot. But it's the opposite in opera, where everything is fixed.
Everything
Fixed
Improvise
Lot
New
Opera
Opposite
Piece
Theatre
Where
Work
Opera is a very stimulating place to work, and I believe it offers the most intense theatrical experience possible.
Believe
Experience
I believe
Intense
Most
Offers
Opera
Place
Possible
Stimulating
Theatrical
Very
Work
It's obvious that any new show comes with its share of blunders, misfires, and bad choices.
Any
Bad
Bad choices
Blunders
Choices
New
Obvious
Share
Show
I will always demand the right for theatre to talk about anything and anyone. Without exception. None.
About
Always
Anyone
Anything
Demand
Exception
None
Right
Talk
Theatre
Will
Without
The same critics who destroyed 'Seven Streams' when we opened in Edinburgh - and yes, it was horrible - called it one of the most important shows of the 21st century six years later in London.
Century
Critics
Destroyed
Edinburgh
Horrible
Important
Later
London
Most
Opened
Same
Seven
Shows
Six
All of Vegas is false. There's a false Paris, a false Venice, a false Baghdad - in fact, all of the early Vegas aesthetic is Baghdad, which is also the irony. It's 'Aladdin,' the sands, 'One Thousand and One Nights.'
Aesthetic
Also
Baghdad
Early
Fact
False
In fact
Irony
Nights
Paris
Sands
Thousand
Vegas
Venice
I like doing very small, intimate things in the morning and then, in the afternoon, to be working on something in a big stadium.
Afternoon
Big
Doing
Intimate
Like
Morning
Small
Something
Stadium
Then
Things
Very
Working
I need to have many things cooking at the same time.
Cooking
Many
Need
Same
Same time
Things
Time
I studied as an actor at the theatre conservatoire in Quebec, but by the time I got to my third year, I was more interested in directing. There's more to it than helping actors get round a stage: it's a wonderful way of telling stories.
Actor
Actor
By the time
Directing
Get
Got
Helping
Interested
More
Quebec
Round
Stage
Stories
Studied
Opera should be a place for art forms to meet. I've worked a lot with Peter Gabriel; his music isn't operatic, but he creates big, popular gatherings to which architecture, dance, and music are all invited.
Architecture
Art
Art forms
Big
Creates
Dance
Forms
Gabriel
He
His
Invited
Lot
Meet
Music
Opera needs a major makeover; the large opera houses are too in thrall to their conservative patrons.
Conservative
Houses
Large
Major
Makeover
Needs
Opera
Too
When I directed the 'Ring' cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in New York recently, there were people texting all through the show. But theatre isn't a communication device: it's a communion.
Communication
Communion
Cycle
Device
Directed
Metropolitan
New
New york
Opera
People
Recently
Ring
Show
Texting

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Jules Verne, (born February 8, 1828, Nantes, France--died March 24, 1905, Amiens), prolific French..
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat, (born May 24, 1743, Boudry, near Neuchatel, Switzerland--died July 13, 1793,..
J.M. Barrie
J.M. Barrie
J.M. Barrie, in full Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, (born May 9, 1860, Kirriemuir, Angus,..
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, nee Sarah Morgan Bryan, (born August 11, 1836, Fayette county, Kentucky,..
Friedrich Holderlin
Friedrich Holderlin
Friedrich Holderlin, in full Johann Christian Friedrich Holderlin, (born March 20, 1770, Lauffen..
Quintilian
Quintilian
Quintilian, Latin in full Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, (born ad 35, Calagurris Nassica, Hispania..