Two Robert Lepage productions coming to Toronto, both shorter than nine hours
To say that Torontonians love Robert Lepage is kind of like saying that we love the Leafs. (Except that Lepage is, you know, insanely successful.) Ever since the Quebec City director-actor-writer-filmmaker launched his opera career here 16 years ago, local audiences and critics have been tripping over each other for superlatives to describe the multi-tasker’s work. Last summer, we happily sat through his nine-hour mind blower, Lipsynch, at Luminato; and in the fall, we were slack-jawed when he created, as far as we know, the only orchestra pit slash swimming pool in existence for the world premiere of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables at the COC.
Yesterday, Canadian Stage’s artistic and general director, Matthew Jocelyn, busted out of the gate with his announcement that the company had snagged Lepage’s The Andersen Project, the story of a songwriter working on a libretto based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen, for October. (The rest of CanStage’s programming will be announced next week.) The Lepage love-in will continue at the revamped Sony Centre in November with Eonnagata, a peek inside the life of Charles de Beaumont, the 18th-century swordsman-spy thought to be the first person to use cross-dressing as an on-the-job tool. French ballet star Sylvie Guillem and British choreographer Russell Maliphant will be part of the production, which features kabuki techniques, gender play, Lepage in full face and wig, and costumes by the late, lamented fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Let the thesaurus.com searches begin.