Introduction
in Robert Lepage’s original stage productions
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This chapter introduces the book’s subject, the Québécois theatremaker Robert Lepage, and argues that he is notable for his elusiveness and ambivalence about this work, his place in that work, and his status as a leading figure in global and Québécois theatre and arts. This resistance to being classified is a strategy which allows him to keep working as an artist on his own terms, and a measure of his success in this is the lack of scholarly consensus about the nature and effects of his work. This book argues that Lepage’s central and ongoing contribution to contemporary performance practices is the creation of productions that reflect spectators’ privileged experiences of navigating contemporary globalisation. Lepage’s preferred mode of working is a form of theatrical collective creation (also called devising) with roots in the RSVP Cycles, in which a group of artists generate and develop productions together; while his productions developed in this way are recognisable, he is typically resistant to acknowledging that they bear his signature. The crucible for his work was Théâtre Repère, a Québec City-based ensemble that flourished in the 1980s.

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