Ex Machina / Robert Lepage 887[Theatre]
After a run of shows of a more spectacular nature (La trilogie des dragons, the Jeux de Cartes project and various collaborations with Cirque du Soleil), this latest work sees a return, by Robert Lepage, to the “solo work” format, in an exploration into the workings of memory. 887 may well be about the summoning up of personal recollections, but this does not make it an autobiographical tale. Anecdotes and historical considerations of a more wide-ranging nature invariably find themselves becoming interwound. The 1960’s. Quebec. Montreal. 887 boulevard Murray. From within this block of flats, the mirror of a society at the dawn of major upheavals, young Robert discovers theatre for the first time, in the course of games invented with his sister. In the background is the muted sound of the Quebec Liberation Front’s first bombs going off. We enter into this building via the window, surreptitiously, just as we might break into a person’s mind. The stage topography is of both the mental and geographic kind, and transforms itself in time with mysterious synaptic connections. Robert Lepage is a groundbreaking teller of stories. His ubiquitous brand of theatre rises above frontiers of all kinds, spatial or temporal. One distance it does, however, keep to is that of the tender, ironic detachment afforded by the passing of the years. What is left in suspense is what makes 887 an intimate work. It is an ode less to the mother country and its “Je me souviens” or “I remember” motto - than to the father’s silence. And to the art of the actor, a craft in which memory is the cornerstone.