Self-indulgent stroll through theatre great's memories
This article is from 2015.
After the spectacular binaural complexity of The Encounter, 887 arrives at the EIF with a similar set of expectations and a technology heavy dramaturgy. Robert Lepage is a venerable artist who promptly indulges himself with a trip down memory lane and occasional flashes of self-awareness and passion.
The meandering is based around Lepage's attempts to learn the influential 1970s Quebecoise poem Speak White for a reading – he eventually performs the poem, a vitriolic demand for respect, in an electrifying moment. Lepage suggests that he is pondering the nature of memory, personal and historical. This translates into vaguely interesting anecdotes from his childhood, merging the political turmoil of French Canadian activism and his family's struggles.
For all the impressive architecture on stage – Lepage paces around a scale model of his home, peering inside like a giant on his own past – the substance is slim. It's clear that he still has an eye for the telling image, and his presence is personable, witty and sometimes bracingly angry, and there are incomplete but intriguing meditations on how the memory of history can so easily be replaced. Yet his howl of outrage at what has become of the radical movement is an ironic reflection on his self-indulgence on stage.
EICC, 473 2000, 13–15, 18, 20, 23 Aug, 7.30pm, 16, 19, 21 & 22 Aug, 2.30pm, £32