For anyone making the plunge, Miller has advice: “Bring water. And wear sweatpants.”
October 10, 2010 1:30 PM   Subscribe

The next day, Sunday, I spent almost nine hours immersed in Robert Lepage’s marathon play, Lipsynch, at the Bluma Appel Theatre, which was part of Luminato. You tell people you’ve just spent nine hours watching a play conducted in four languages (with projected sur-titles) and they think you’ve undergone an endurance test, made a heroic sacrifice for art. On the contrary. There was no suffering(5 minutes of [enthusiastic] standing and clapping). The time flew by. It was like taking your brain on a luxurious cruise. Or spending the day in an art spa, basking in mind massages and sensory wraps. Maybe it was high art but the ascent was effortless: because Lepage did all the work for you, it was experienced as pure entertainment.

Recently Mr. Lepage talked with Eleanor Wachtel AKA 'Wachtel on the Arts'…during the ideas program… discussing things ranging from conceptions of Self, meaning and being, voice, speech and language, being a child with alopecia, segregation, the duality of growing up with half his family being Canadian Federalists, and half being Quebecois Sovereigntist, the segregation of nationalism, also opera, theatre, questions of fatherhood for a gay man, creativity, inspiration, language, culture and much more...
(MP3 Download)
(Flash Streaming)

On the tendency of bundling 'voice with speech with Language' as one (27 minutes in; paraphrased).
We usually bundle them together, but really they are much more accurately thought of as a triangle, related to 3 characters; voice –father , when in womb, the voice that you hear from outside speaking inwards (mothers voice is “part of you”, the father is coming from outside, stresses mother, pleases her, and anything in between. Not necessarily the voice of the “man who impregnated her”, can be her female lover, or any other.

Speech, the individual/self expression
Language, from the mother- “Langue maternelle, mother tongue”
You can find a great deal more media and information relating to the multitude of projects that Mr. Lepage is/has been engaged in- Ex Machina is a multidisciplinary company bringing together actors, writers, set designers, technicians, opera singers, puppeteers, computer graphic designers, video artists, contortionists and musicians. Ex Machina. Robert Lepage is thus part of a movement towards taking theatre to the frontiers of exposition... Helping opera and theatre speak to those who never knew that opera and theatre could speak to them.
posted by infinite intimation (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
and because these are too interesting not to share;
Far Side of the Moon Official Trailer

Robert Lepage's Eonnagata

This world premiere broadcast of a new theatrical creation by the visionary Canadian director Robert Lepage is part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Diamond Anniversary celebrations. Entitled The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, this production consists of two short operas and other vocal and instrumental pieces by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (on the CBC's amazing "Concerts on Demand").

(if you only visit one link, the Wachtel interview is a feast for the mind grapes, an all around fascinating interview)
posted by infinite intimation at 1:34 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I saw Lipsynch at BAM this past year and it was absolutely everything you've said here. It certainly did not feel like nine hours - there were plenty of intermissions, and moreover, the piece was so beautifully paced it was never wearying. Some scenes were very active and talkative and bright, others gave your brain a rest, just giving you something beautiful to look at, or listen to, or to quietly absorb as it took its course in due time. Scattered throughout were also more percussive moments to energize you and wake you up to a new scene. It was all so amazing.

Lastly, it was so stunning that the techniques and storytelling were all so experimental and in many cases abstracted, but that it still told a very moving story (several of them, in fact). I went with a group of a dozen or so people, and not one of us had a dry eye by the end.

I know I'm gushing, but it's hard to say too many good things about it...
posted by Zephyrial at 2:31 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I saw LePage do his one-man "Hamlet" (called "Elsinore", because he thought it would be too ballsy to call it "Hamlet") at the National Theatre in London about 14 years ago. It was part of a class trip, and I was so hypnotized I went by myself to see it again.
posted by starvingartist at 7:47 PM on October 10, 2010

I'm interested! Where would Lipsynch be playing now or in the near future?
posted by storybored at 8:32 PM on October 10, 2010

For now at least, it's look like nowhere.

I suddenly feel the urge to throw the kind of temper tantrum my mom tells me I threw when I was two.
posted by treepour at 7:45 PM on October 11, 2010

Hey, no throwing things in here... this is high theatre!!
What if I showed you this NFB short about Mr. Lepage?

Not good enough?
This sit down where he discusses 'performing past and present'?
The Seven Faces of Robert Lepage. (teaser)

I wish I had been able to see it/find more info on it, but we all just missed Robert Lepage recently had a similar discussion with John Ralston Saul, who wrote an introduction for one of Robert Lepages' books (on culture and identity)

Look at this stair set... amazing? you decide (from the ring).
Robert Lepage’s highly anticipated new production of Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” for the Metropolitan Opera started its rollout with “Das Rheingold,” which was simulcast in HD on local movie screens last weekend. It is a triumphant success.

Nobody ever claimed that Wagner is instantly accessible. The orchestrations in “Rheingold” are sweeping and lush, but unstructured in any obvious way. In the vocal score there is not a melody to be heard. Snippets of music become “motives” and are associated with characters, objects or themes — Valhalla, the Ring, the Golden Apples, the Renunciation of Love, and on. These are developed and expanded upon in the next three operas comprising the “Ring.”

If the music is difficult, at least the plot of the “Ring” is simple. Alberich the dwarf steals the Rhine-gold and makes the ring, which is then stolen from him by Wotan, king of the gods, then paid to the giant Fafner for building the fortress Valhalla. Fafner later turns into a dragon which is vanquished by Siegfried, son of Wotan’s two half-human children. Siegfried is in love with Brunnhilde, another offspring of Wotan, who... oh, never mind. Maybe it’s not so simple.
Far as I can tell his newest work is nothing short of a great follow up, both in scale, ambition and innovation to his previous creations...
Perhaps what you seek is the Ring Cycle, which just opened in NY, also, note that his other older works do/are touring, and so... I hope this pain on realization of inaccessibility causes people to remember to look out for (and demand) lipsynch returning to stages...

I think also TOTEM (cirque de soleil) , is still showing at various places also... oh, yeah, that amazing piece of vertical theatre KA also by Cirque de soliel? And both also by Robert Lepage.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:50 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

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