Branding Ex Machina
in Robert Lepage’s original stage productions
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Through his productions and his public statements about them, Lepage has long worked to debunk the lone genius model of artmaking. He has nonetheless become known for a distinctive and saleable artistic signature and is the only creative constant in work that, since the mid-1990s, has been produced and distributed via the production company Ex Machina, in association with Robert Lepage Incorporated, a private enterprise; in 2019 the arts centre Le Diamant, a project which Lepage initiated, became part of this small conglomerate of arts organisations with him at their centre. This chapter explores Ex Machina’s attempts in the first decade and a half of its existence (1994–2009) at branding its work in order to assist its circulation in the deterritorialised space of global performance, by associating the company with a set of core values including freedom from classification, collaborativity, and commitment to creativity as process. Engaging with the response of journalistic theatre critics to five of Lepage and Ex Machina’s productions (The Seven Streams of the River Ota, Geometry of Miracles, Lipsynch, Zulu Time, and The Blue Dragon), the chapter argues that Ex Machina’s attempts to turn process into a brand were not successful.

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