Lepage’s cinematic dramaturgy
in Robert Lepage’s original stage productions
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This chapter argues that Lepage borrows filmic techniques and reworks them for the stage to keep theatre in step with changes in human perception brought about by advances in media technologies. Such techniques are a key tool in Lepage’s attempts to evoke in his work the complex lived reality of contemporary culture in the developed world. Montage is a key term in this consideration, and this chapter focuses in particular on his deployment of spatial montage, the placement of material depicting different temporal realities, scenes, and/or characters on stage at the same time and suggesting relationships between them. Transposing this filmic effect to the stage exploits theatre’s unique qualities of liveness and three-dimensionality to make montage do representational, symbolic and affective work not achievable in screened forms of representation. While Lepage’s description of his work as characterised by metaphoric relationships is widely accepted, this chapter argues that his work also employs the figures of metonym, synecdoche, and condensation. Lepage also relies on genre as a key scaffolding for his stage works, and this chapter explores three productions’ engagement with genres including melodrama (Tectonic Plates), thriller (Polygraph), and art film (Needles and Opium).

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