For more than three decades, Robert Lepage’s dynamic multimedia performance works have been produced on stages worldwide. Celebrated for his bold, visionary aesthetic, Lepage has received several high-profile commissions in recent years, including two Peter Gabriel world tours, Cirque du Soleil’s KÁ in Las Vegas, a dramatic staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Lorin Maazel’s 1984 at London’s Royal Opera House.
Despite Lepage’s prolificacy, and his status as one of the pioneers of new media performance, little critical writing about his work has been published, particularly in English. Ludovic Fouquet’s The Visual Laboratory of Robert Lepage, translated for the first time into English, thus presents much-needed in-depth analysis of Lepage’s strategies and practices.
The book’s title references the experimentation so integral to Lepage’s creative process and the ways in which he and his creative arts company, Ex Machina, have always been attuned to the synergistic possibilities that emerge when art encounters science and technology. Whether as a playwright, actor, film director, or stage director, Lepage is forever in search of new mutations of form and expression, and his unexpected narratives often write themselves out of discoveries he makes when staging a piece – indeed stagecraft often guides story in Lepage’s creative realm.
This full-colour volume will be of keen interest for theatre practitioners of all kinds, from set designers to directors, from academics to fans.
Ludovic Fouquet is a visual artist, actor, teacher, director, and founder of the multimedia theatre company songes mécaniques (Mechanical Dreams) in Blois, France. After
training as an actor and dancer, Fouquet earned his PhD studying Robert Lepage’s artistic practice and its relationship to technology. Fouquet edited La trilogie des dragons (The Dragons’ Trilogy, L’instant meme, 2005), and developed a photographic monograph of this work. In addition to frequent speaking engagements at French universities, Fouquet contributes regularly to numerous theatre and contemporary art magazines, including Cahiers de Théâtre, JEU, ETC Montréal, and theatre-contemporain.net. Fouquet divides his time between France and Quebec.
“Ludovic Fouquet, in addition to being an avid spectator at many of Robert Lepage’s shows in Quebec and Europe, has been a privileged witness to the working sessions of the prolific playwright and attended many hours of rehearsal during research for this book.”
– Louise Vigeant, JEU: revue de théâtre
“In illuminating Lepage’s methods of creation (where the text often appears only at the end of a process of collective improvisation), [Fouquet] explores the wealth of the playwright’s work as well as his occasional failures.”
– Marie Labrecque, author of Une longue, longue marche