It has been a long
time coming, but next year the Festival is excited to finally be collaborating
with one of the world's most celebrated directors, Robert Lepage.
After founding his own multidisciplinary production company, Ex Machina, in
1994, Mr. Lepage has earned international critical and popular acclaim for his
epic and visually striking stage works, along with awards for his innovative
solo pieces, plays, spectacular work with Cirque de Soleil, operas and musical
events, and feature films such as Possible Worlds
"We've been talking about it for years and years," says Stratford's Artistic
Director, Antoni Cimolino. "Robert visits the Festival annually, and we had an
opportunity to really sit down and discuss the specific possibilities about
four years ago at a brunch hosted by Adrienne Clarkson.
biggest challenge of all has been figuring out the timing - as you can
imagine, Robert's schedule is completely nuts! He has a very different style
of rehearsing and developing a production, and it was tricky trying to
accommodate his work process with the way we do things here at Stratford."
Normally, a play set to open here in late May would begin rehearsals
in February and be ready for public preview performances in April. The acting
company works in repertory, meaning that performers are cast in different
shows and rehearsal schedules are carefully made up to accommodate several
productions rehearsing in tandem.
"Robert has an incredibly
contrasting approach to our usual method here at Stratford," says Mr.
Cimolino. "He tends to devise work from the ground up: he crafts ideas with
performers to develop different iterations and then takes several passes over
a work. Even when he works with pre-existing scripts, he will workshop his
way through it, then go away and take time to think about it before he'll
come back to the piece.
"We needed to figure out a way to fit
this approach around how we do things here. I attended a showing of his
touring solo show 887
in Edinburgh in April, and we discussed how
best to rehearse in 2018, so we now have a plan in place to make it all work