Robert Lepage has always been a tough guy to pin down. Is he an actor, director or playwright?
“I call myself a storyteller,” says the internationally celebrated Quebecer, creative force behind such award-winning productions as Needles and Opium, Polygraph and Tectonic Plates. There’s something indefinable, too, about Lepage’s works, which are known for their dazzling use of props and imaginative staging-and the fact that they change with each production. “Theatre is an event, not something written down,” he explains. “What should be written
down is the traces of what you’ve done.”
Lepage’s one-man show The Far Side of the Moon, at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre this month
(in French on March 21-23, 29 and 30; in English March 26-28), has gone through numerous incarnations. The play explores the mirror-duality of sibling rivalry against the backdrop of the Soviet-U.S. space race. First performed in Quebec City two years ago, it evolved while travelling to San Francisco, New York and Berlin
into something shorter and more focused. By the time it got to London last year, the work-whlch features an original score by Laurie Anderson-
was an unqualified success. It won the Evening Standard award for best play, and earned Lepage a Critics’ Circle Theatre award for directing. So has this Moon gone through all its changes? With Lepage, who hopes to take it to Vancouver later this year, you
Man bites dog
Could it really be true? The title— let alone the contents—of Good News for a Change (Stoddart), by David Suzuki and Holly Dressel, will surprise those who accuse environmentalists of sky-is-falling pessimism. (In fact, most activists are optimists who believe that humans can and will change their ecologically catastrophic
ways.) Suzuki and Dressel celebrate hundreds of individuals and groups who have found specific solutions, and detect a groundswell of movements for change.
There are farmers who manage to raise better quality beef while protecting local wildlife and plants; foresters who turn a profit while preserving cougar habitat; and new technologies that promise to reduce or even eliminate toxins. Whether it all adds up to what an environmentalist might call sustainable optimism is a matter for readers to decide.
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