Since Polygraph, BAM has presented Lepage’s stage work on the regular. For the 1992 Next Wave a 35-year-old Lepage—who by that point was already an established figure on the international scene—performed his triumphal one-man show Needles and Opium. This piece, which Mel Gussow called “a chamber work marked by its absolute precision,” crosscut the lives of Miles Davis and Jean Cocteau with elements of Lepage’s own autobiography, in a gymnastic medley of musings on jazz, travel, Surrealism, and the act of creation itself.
|Needles and Opium. Photo: Alastair Muir|
|Lipsynch. Photo: Richard Termine|
For Robert Lepage, universality is rooted in direct experience. The key to successfully addressing the universal, as he himself says, is to “talk about what goes on as honestly as possible. Talk about what goes on in your kitchen, and anybody will recognize themselves in that.” It follows, then, that 887—coming to the BAM Harvey Theater March 16—26—has been called "the most intimate show of his career" by The Telegraph. In the multimedia solo work, the apartment complex where Lepage spent his youth—887 Murray Ave, Quebec City, Canada—comes to extraordinary life via the renowned director’s signature use of cutting-edge technology. Inspired by his own inability to memorize a poem for a special event, 887 soon opens out into a wide-ranging journey into the realm of memory.
As Lepage revisits his childhood home and other brilliantly reconstructed spaces—from the front seat of his cabdriver father’s taxi to his own ultramodern present-day flat—the questions multiply: Why do we remember the phone number from our youth yet forget our current one? How does a childhood song withstand the test of time while the name of a loved one escapes us? And how is theater—an art based in part on the act of recollection—still relevant in a digital age where megabytes take the place of memory?
Ex Machina's 887 comes to the BAM Harvey Theater March 16—26, and great tickets are still available.
Repurposed from a 2013 BAM blog article.