Robert Lepage


Wagner’s epic ‘Ring’ has defeated many directors, including Robert Lepage

Critics have been harsh over the Quebec director’s crack at the fantasy opera.


Newsmakers: Jan. 23 – Feb. 3, 2012

Garth Brooks resurfaces, Jonathan Franzen’s new snit, and Christine Sinclair sends Canada to London


Robert LePage in conversation

On tackling the Met, New York’s narcissism—and Hans Christian Andersen’s sex diary

‘Precious’ wins Oscar’s Toronto primary

It was wrap yesterday for the Toronto International Film Festival, as it staged its awards ceremony at a hotel brunch. This is always a low-key affair. Unlike the othe major festivals—Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Sundance—Toronto prides itself on being a non-competitive event. Which is why a lot of filmmakers feel comfortable unveiling their work here. There are no losers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t winners. Although there’s no formal competition, awards are given out, and this year there were more than ever. Juries honoured three categories of Canadian films with cash prizes—Ruba Nadda’s lush and delicate romance, Cairo Time, won $30,000 for best Canadian feature, Alexandre Franchi’s The Wild Hunt, about role-playing games, won $15,000 for best Canadian first feature, and Pedro Pires’s Dance Macabre, a dark ballet conceived by Robert Lepage, won $10,000 for best Canadian short. But the prize that has taken on more and more significance over the years is the People’s Choice Award, which is voted by audiences—and has come to serve as a bell-weather for Oscar success. Past winners have included Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, Crash and Slumdog Millionaire. To no one’s surprise, at least not mine, the 2009 winner was Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. By turns harrowing and inspirational, this tale of an abused, obese, illiterate Harlem teen is this year’s Slumdog.Unlike Slumdog, it wasn’t discovered at TIFF but at Sundance, and that’s when fairy godmother Oprah Winfrey jumped on board as executive producer. But Toronto was where Oprah launched the Oscar campaign for Precious.

Live cinema, epic theatre

Exercises in exhilaration, from a warehouse happening to Robert Lepage’s nine-hour ‘Lipsynch’,


My play’s longer than your play

Robert Lepage’s new work is nine hours long and it’s not unique. Here comes ‘slow theatre.’


MUSIC: Write if you get work

Quebec City visual wizard Robert Lepage stages the New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Berlioz’ Damnation de Faust. Do click on the link for the audio slide show; Lepage’s work looks stunning even (especially?) if you’re not an opera fan. Better yet, go here and click on the video link. At the end, Faust and his odd new acquaintance ride off to save the maiden, but it’s a trick and he’s riding into Hell. It’s supposed to be forboding and fantastic; in Lepage’s vision, it sure is. The use of horse imagery based on Eadweard Muyrbridge’s early motion pictures (which Berlioz could have seen in person, come to think of it) is brilliant.