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Robert Lepage Biography

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Robert Lepage

Birthdate:   12/12/1957
Website: http://www.canadiantheatre.com/dict.pl?t
Category: Behind The Camera

Internationally-renowned playwright/actor/director born in Quebec City, Quebec , December 12, 1957.

He was raised in a bilingual household (he had two older adopted siblings who were anglophone). He studied at the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Québec before joining the Théâtre Repère and soon becoming its lead actor and then director. His first work for the company, Circulations (1984) toured nation-wide.

His productions from the start were marked by his bilingualism, his explorations into multimedia, his homosexuality, and an ongoing study of the act of creation itself. His works, like Vinci (which examined Leonardo), Aiguilles et Opium (which dealt with Cocteau and Miles Davis), and his breakthrough success, La Trilogie des Dragons (a vast epic in English, French and Chinese which toured this country and Europe), showed a hearty imagination, a love of image and a fearlessness for new technology; sometimes the state of theatre itself was called into question.

As his reputation grew so did his canvas and the works he took on. He presented a series of productions of Shakespeare throughout Europe, Japan and in the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques which had critics arguing among themselves but which transfixed audiences and made Lepage a giant of the international stage.

In 1996, The Seven Branches of the River Ota won the award for best Quebec production at the Soirée des Masques . It played at several subsequent festivals. In 1997 he created, and began an international tour of his contemplation of the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, The Geometry of Miracles/La Géométrie des miracles. In 1998, he created a 3D version of La Tempête/The Tempest and began work on Zulu Time which opened to mixed reviews in Geneva, but, subsequently, positive ones in Paris.

He is a recipient of a Governor General's Award and is now directing movies. (In 1999, he began filming John Mighton 's Possible Worlds featuring Tom McCamus , Gabriel Gascon and Rick Miller .)

His company, Ex Machina, has renovated a fire station in Quebec City as a multidisciplinary arts centre that does research into theatre, opera, puppetry, dance and music.

He has said of the extended, free-wheeling process he uses to create his works, "I don't even know what I'm writing until the audience tells me." During a discussion session at London's National Theatre (January, 1997), when asked what he thought theatre was, he answered, " I always come back to the same old notion that it's a gathering, a meeting point. A gathering in the sense that a group of artists get together to tell a story, and also the collective audience. The audience in a theatre room is very different from the audience to a film, because they actually change everything on the stage by their energy. You can't do that to a TV screen."

M. Lepage's career has not been free of controversy. In 2001, it was revealed that he had cancelled a rare press conference, in which he was to discuss his participation in the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques , because three critics on his blacklist (notably Robert Lévesque ) were planning to attend.

In November of 2001, he received the London Evening Standard Award for his production of La Face cachée de la lune.

(Additional information provided by Christopher Hoile)

Sources: "Robert Lepage est primé à Londres" by Éve Dumas, Le Devoir, Montreal (Canada), November 28, 2001.




Robert Lepage's "Possible Worlds" received
six Genie nominations from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television 

Robert collaborates extensively with pop icon Peter Gabriel: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=14296



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