Robert Lepage
Ex Machina
Théâtre du Soleil Kanata

[Theatre]

For the first time, a Theatre du Soleil show has been directed by someone other than Ariane Mnouchkine. At her invitation, Robert Lepage and his company Ex Machina embark the troop on an epic story, the extent of which far exceeds the event. The show offers a re-reading of the history of Canada, via the prism of relations between Whites and Natives.

Kanata is an event. Firstly, because it this the only time, in its fifty-four year long, epic history, that Ariane Mnouchkine has entrusted the Théâtre du Soleil troupe to an invited director - the Canadian Robert Lepage. But also, because the piece conjured up by the latter is a story of epic proportions retracing two-hundred years in the history of his country - “kanata” is the Iroquoian word for “village’, which gave its name to Canada - in three chapters. Right down to its most violent and appalling aspects, these three symbolic, telling episodes will focus on relations between Whites and the native populations: the encounter, at the start of the XIXth century, between the Shakespearian actor Edmund Kean and groups of Huron-Wendat Indians; the “Indian residential schools” in which, between 1875 and 1970, 150,000 autochthonous children were locked up against their will, and torn away from their families and culture; and lastly, the mysterious disappearance and murder of the autochthonous women of Downtown Eastside, an underprivileged Vancouver suburb. Recounted via the perspective of painters and photographers of the era, the piece provides, through the intermediary of the actors, the framework for an encounter between two giants of today’s theatre. As humanists, above all, they share in the conviction that the artist has a duty to bear witness to the times he or she lives in.
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Estimated running time : 4h