La Compagnie Allegria

Le blog de la Compagnie Allegria est consacré à la mise en ligne des informations relatives à la compagnie et à ses membres, Brigitte Boucher, Violaine Brébion, Marc Bretonnière, Jean-Yves Brignon, Louis-Jean Corti, Hervé Derrien, Nicolas Djermag, Hervé Dubourjal, Céline Duhamel, Robert Georges, Natacha Gerritsen, Romain, Lemire, Anne Massoteau, Guillaume Orsat, Elsa Saladin, Anne Saubost...
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colloque du lundi 3 septembre sur la technologie et le theatre

Par La Compagnie Allegria :: mardi 04 septembre 2007 - 23:55 :: festival de theatre du Caire

Le colloque sur le théâtre et la technologie a fait grand débat au sein du festival car ici les gens de théâtre semblent avoir une vision très négative de la technologie, symbole du mal occidental, les débats furent donc vifs et très enrichissants. Il y avait parmi les conférenciers un marocain, un anglais, un soudanais, une américaine, un tunisien. La salle etait bondee, les interventions post colloque nombreuses.

En l absence de photos et de videos toutes pretes pour vous je vous joins l introduction de l intervention de Keren Fricker, intervention tres interessante, plus tard, vous pourrez voir, je l espere des extraits de presse, des extraits de la conference et des photos prises sur le vif, frustration, frustration que le web ici ;o)

Festival international oblige le texte est en anglais, si certains souhaitent lire la suite je peux contacter l auteur pour lui demamder. bonne lecture.

Robert Lepage, technophobe?

Karen Fricker

Royal Holloway, University of London

Presented at the Cairo Festival of Experimental Theatre, September 2007


( with the author’s permission)


Raymond Bertin yesterday in his paper on young people’s theatre in Quebec mentioned Robert Lepage as the Quebec theatremaker best-known around the Western world for the innovative use of technology in his work. It will thus doubtless seem strange to him and  who anyone knows Lepage’s work that I am proposing him as a subject for this panel, about directors who resist technology through his work. Lepage is known as a master of compelling stage images, who has from his earliest days used both high- and low-tech visual and aural effects to assist in his theatrical storytelling. His interest in the use of all the elements of theatre to create meaning, rather than in traditional, text-based approaches is reflected in the multiplicity of his creative roles: he is not only a director but almost always his own scenographer; he performs in many of his own productions; and made his name with work he created collaboratively rather with than productions of existing scripts.[1]


Lepage started out in the early 1980s making shows in small theatres and cafes in Québec City, working with tiny budgets like virtually every other budding artist. Even in these early days he showed an interest in discovering stage equivalents for cinematic effects such as fast-forwards, slow-motion, and montage, using simple changes of lighting, set shifts, and trompe de l’oeil effects. As his career gained momentum and he started making co-productions for major theatres and festivals around the Western world, he exploited the new levels of technology that were now within his reach. One of Lepage’s best known uses of stage technology was in Elsinore, a solo production created in 1995 which he described as “a high-tech venture to x-ray the script of Hamlet”.[2] Lepage has since staged two technology-laden world tour concerts for the pop musician Peter Gabriel, and, most recently, a new spectacle in Las Vegas for his fellow Quebecers the Cirque du Soleil, called KÀ, which is understood to be the most expensive production ever staged in North America, with costs rumoured to have exceeded $200 million US.


Clearly, Robert Lepage is no stranger to technology; his work seems very far away indeed from any notion of “poor theatre” as idealised by Peter Brook. What I would like to suggest here, however, is that for all his seeming bravura with technology, Lepage’s work actually reveals a deep ambivalence about the changes new technologies are bringing to society and human consciousness, and considerable anxiety about the effect these changes will have on his own creative authority. The contrasting impulses that his productions reveal – at once welcoming technology’s possibilities, but fearing the loss of self and of human presence that the growing pervasiveness of technology might represent – resonate deeply with contemporary concerns about the relationship of humankind to technological and scientific advances. This Janus-faced approach to technology, I would suggest, is part of what makes his work feel so timely and of-the-moment.


Before I can begin to support this argument, I must first establish my understanding of the relationship between technological change and theatrical practice. As I see it, the role that contemporary technology plays in the development of theatrical language cannot be reduced to the simple placement of screens, telephones, and other gadgetry on stage. I would agree, rather, with Arnold Aronson’s assertion that “the key to understanding the relationship between theatre and technology” is the perception that


… theatre – in fact art in general – is shaped not by specific technological developments but through transformations in consciousness and modes of perception that may, however, be significantly affected by technology.[3]


[1] While Lepage built his reputation on original works, he has also directed productions of classic texts, including several controversial productions of Shakespeare, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal National Theatre in 1992 and three Shakespeare plays in québécois “tradaptation”, Macbeth, La Tempête, and Coriolan,  which toured Europe, Canada, and Japan from 1992-94. He almost never directs new plays that he did not write himself.

[2] Cited in Gibson, K. Jane, “Seeing Double: The Map-making Process of Robert Lepage,” Canadian Theatre Review 97, p. 19.

[3] Aronson, Arnold, Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), p. 74.

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