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Sunday, March 12, 2017

In Context: 887

Renowned Quebec-born director Robert Lepage reconfigures spaces from his past and present in this deeply personal, tech-saturated solo work. Context is everything, so get closer to the production through our series of curated links, videos, and articles. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #ExMachina887.

Program Notes

887 (PDF)

Read

Article
The Quebec Liberation Front (BAM blog)
Illustrator Nathan Gelgud details the radical movement for Quebec liberation, the memories of which Lepage explores in 887.

Article
Robert Lepage at BAM (BAM blog)
From his upturning of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Met to his reinvention of the hardboiled detective story in Polygraph, Robert Lepage can always be found at the forefront of theatrical innovation.

Review
"...bursts of political anger that crack the surface of Lepage’s placid demeanor in a play about memory, amnesia and the hidden wounds of the past."

Article
Lepage’s ‘887’ addresses memories in magical ways (Japan Times)
The auteur discusses collective memory, Quebec, and the Quiet Revolution.

Article
October Crisis (Canadian Encyclopedia)
Learn more about the origins of a cataclysmic moment brought on by nationalist discontent and rising unemployment.

Watch & Listen

Video
Iconic Artist Talk: Robert Lepage (BAM blog)
Go behind-the-scenes with the visionary auteur thanks to archival footage from a 2013 BAM Iconic Artist talk.

Video
Falardeau/Poulin - Speak White (1980) (YouTube)
Lepage recites a stirring rendition of this anti-prejudice poem in 887.

Video
Festival Portraits | Robert Lepage (YouTube)
The trailblazing actor, writer and director champions the holistic benefits of theatre on society and the role he plays in delivering it.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #ExMachina887.

18 comments:

  1. loved it very much. thank you for presenting this.

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  2. Absolutely brilliant from start to finish! The piece was original and poignant, and the performance was flawless. A must-see.

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  3. Brilliant, funny and profoundly moving. The poetry recital at the end was striking. And the play was uncannily relevant to the USA today. Please come back next BAM season. I still look back fondly to the BAM life-changing production of the brilliant Seven Streams of the River Ota.

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  4. Brilliant, brilliant, and brilliant in all regards. Family's memories, social movement memories, personal experience and feelings are intertwined in a way that it makes this show so in touch with personality of the author! A rare things these days! The poetry recital is beautiful and striking. The end of the show is even more striking - we fall in eternity. I am trying to see what Le Page has produced everywhere; in New York, Moscow, Montreal and some other places. It is alway brilliant; I am happy that I can get in touch with his art.

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  5. Brilliant on every level! Thanks BAM for bringing us such innovative and important works!

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  6. Délicieuse plongée au cœur de l'intime château de la mémoire de Robert Lepage. Maitrise totale et inventivité de la mise en scène, habituelles chez Lepage. Un bonheur de bout en bout.

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  7. Merci! Très inspirant et très à propos avec tout ce qu'on vit ces dernières années. Can't get enough of Robert Lepage!!!! The set design was amazing!!!!

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  8. One of the finest pieces of theatre I've ever seen and my favorite LePage piece to date.
    The expertise and artistry that put this together is nothing less than genius. Thank you BAM for this great gift. I would see it again and again.

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  9. Marvelous from start to finish. An engaging and mesmerizing piece of work. Hard to fathom how the sets were constructed and the work it took to memorize everything. Mr. LePage is on stage for 2 straight hours in both French and English. Truly memorable. Thank you BAM!

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  10. Unless you are cAnadian or French-I am not sure you will connect with the historical references. It was different and Interesting. However, my friend and I didn't feel it was the best use of our time or money.

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    1. I'm neither Canadian nor French and found the historical references relevant to my own life and times and personal history, and their sense of urgency poignantly linked to the current zeitgeist. The connections are all intensely moving and beautiful to behold. So...what would have been the best use of your time and money?

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  11. How is it that I have only just discovered Robert Lepage and Ex Machina? (And how unsurprising that it is at BAM where I first experience it?) I loved that he had us peering into the windows (quite literally, at times) at his most intimate moments. The clever staging and use of multimedia was impressive. What could easily have been a boring two hours of self-indulgent theater became, instead, the most interesting trip down memory lane I have ever taken. This was Lepage’s 11th production at BAM? Apparently I have missed a lot of terrific performances. Bummer. I wish I could go back in time and see them!

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  12. Robert LePage always makes my heart feel full and synapses energetic.

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  13. Superb! Outstanding! Brilliant! WOW!!!

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  14. That was one of the fastest two hours I've ever experienced in the theatre. I deeply appreciated LePage's humble lecture style that was both subtle and compelling, and let the material unfold so simply. And yet, the complexity of the set was absolutely fantastic! I was so pleased that the tech crew were allowed to take bows along with the actor, as their contribution was truly amazing. I was delighted to learn through this compelling production, more about the history of the struggles of Quebec. My only hint of it previously was the observation that in American hotels, a majority of service providers speak Spanish, but at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where I studied in the summer of 1994, they all spoke French. America is so steeped in racism, there has never been time nor energy to have a proper, intelligent discussion about the largely unconscious classism in this country, and that is why I found this piece so poignantly relevant to what I see happening in my own culture. The way LePage set the pace, his final, theatrical recitation of the poem toward the end was intensely powerful.

    I was riding in a cab in Boston, and talking with a driver I am friendly with, and told him the content and gist of this piece, and he and I were able to bond over it and share sociological observations and memories of our own childhoods, discussing gender divisions of labor and how it affected our parents emotionally, and how our classist prejudices about what it means to be successful in life damage our sense and value of our own humanity. Very grateful I had the opportunity to see it. And thankful for LePage's perspective and beautiful performance.

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  15. I have close to no education of theater. I come from a cinema background. Some time ago, a friend of mine gave me Connecting Flights, a collection of interviews with Robert Lepage. Without knowing any of his works, the book became a sort of bible for me.

    When I heard he was performing at BAM, I went all out and bought great tickets. I was front row. Please keep in mind, I am not someone who can really afford this, and was taking a risk having not seen any prior works. The book alone gave me faith that I wouldn't regret.

    Well, I went tonight, and I have to say... My expectations have been exceeded by a long shot. I feel as though I should abandon my attempts as a film maker and explore the stage as a multi-media platform. Never in my life has any visual work has such a profound effect on me. I have met so many of my heros, and I feel as though I could speak competently with them. If I met Robert Lepage, i wouldn't be able to speak a single word. He is beyond genius. The show was incredible.

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  16. I left BAM last night shattered. It was one of those experiences you hope you dream about, if only to get a second glimpse at what you just saw. From the get-go, I felt myself welling up, and, by about mid-play, I lost it. I won't say which scene unleashed the waterworks (because I don't know that everyone wants to know it's coming), but I was moved so much by *887.* Lepage always brings forth that primal, essential cry that comes from understanding that everything is connected, and our LEGO world can be taken apart and put back together to make symbols, places, and even people. I won't forget this night at the theatre. It has changed me for the better through a level of catharsis that is rare and only getting rarer. Thank you, BAM. Thank you, Robert Lepage.

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