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Posts Tagged ‘Marc Labreche’

This was one of the first Robert Lepage shows I ever saw, 24 years ago at the Cottesloe Theatre, but the combination of my poor memory and a significant re-working means this is like approaching a new show. Like all of Lepage’s work, it’s a flight of imagination, this time linking together Jean Cocteau, Miles Davies and Lepage himself.

French Canadian Robert is in Paris to record both the English and French narration for a documentary. He stays in his usual room in the Hotel La Louisiane, once occupied by famous names like Jean Paul Satre and Juliette Greco. In 1949, Miles Davis is in Paris where he meets Picasso and Satre and falls in love with Juliette Greco. He’s in the same hotel room, until he returns to New York City without Juliette and turns to heroin. In the same year, Jean Cocteau is returning to Paris after a visit to New York City, writing his Letter to the Americans. He’s addicted to opiates too. Miles Davies returns to Paris twelve years later to record an improvised soundtrack for a Louis Malle film. Cocteau, Davies and Robert are connected by having lost a lover.

We move between times and locations – hotel rooms, recording studios, night clubs and mid-air – in a half-cube that moves. Characters enter from anywhere, often whilst the space is moving. Projections create door and window frames. Beds, chairs and tables emerge. It takes a while to get into it’s gentle rhythm, but once you do it’s like entering a dream. All of the speech is in monologues, some to offstage characters on the phone or by intercom. It’s rather captivating, as you make the connections and piece it together for yourself. Classic Lepage, though maybe not CLASSIC Lepage.

Marc Labreche has the lions share of the action, playing Robert (an uncanny likeness) and Cocteau. Wellesley Robertson III is Miles Davies, a mute character. There is a brief appearance by someone as Juliette Greco in a bath!

Lepage always stimulates my imagination and makes me smile with his visual theatrical magic and this was no exception.

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