HCA NEWS Robert Lepage receives HCA award

The Canadian Film and Theatre Director Robert Lepage receives the Odense City Hans Christian Andersen Award 2004. The award ceremony will take place on 2 April 2004 at 2 p.m. at Odense Theatre.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 10 March 2004

The celebrated director Robert Lepage receives the Odense City Hans Christian Andersen Award 2004 worth ? 50,000 for his upcoming solo performance inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's visit to the 1867 World Expo in Paris. Robert Lepage is among the most acclaimed theatre directors on the international stage, and his performances have toured the world for the past two decades. In the coming months, he will direct the new grand Cirque de Soleil Las Vegas show but will interrupt rehearsals to attend the award ceremony in Odense on 2 April.

The Odense City Hans Christian Andersen Award will be presented by the Mayor of Odense, Anker Boye. The award is given in recognition of commitment - i.e. to a person actively involved in promoting the wider awareness and appreciation of Hans Christian Andersen in connection with the 2005 Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary.

Robert Lepage will tour the world in 2005 with a performance based on Hans Christian Andersen's visit to the 1867 World Expo in Paris and the fairytale The Dryad written shortly after. The performance juxtaposes the poetic world of the aging storyteller with the advent of modernity, represented by the expo's technical wonders and pavilions of steel and glass.

Juxtaposition of two worlds
Robert Lepage's performances often feature the juxtaposition of two worlds: the world of historical characters - for instance Leonardo da Vinci, Jean Cocteau, Miles Davis and the Russian cosmonaut Lenov - and the world of a contemporary character, often a young man from Quebec as the director's alter ego.

Robert Lepage's solo performance based on Andersen features a Canadian visiting Paris in 1967, precisely 100 years after Hans Christian Andersen's visit. The Canadian traces his French heritage in a reversed timeline to that of Hans Christian Andersen's visit.
Robert Lepage, who is also an actor, will perform the only acting part of the show. The performance will premiere in the city of Québec in February 2005 before touring the world. Among the venues are the Royal Theatre in Denmark and the National Theatre in London.

Worldwide artist
Robert Lepage has staged performances the world over, e.g. Dramaten in Stockholm and the National Theatre in London. He was artistic director of the National Arts Centre of Canada for four years before he in 1994 established his multi-disciplinary company Ex Machina, which is based in a former fire station in Québec.

Ex Machina adopts an inter-disciplinary approach where different professions, such as actors, puppeteers, computer graphic artists, architects and scientists, all work together. This often results in surprising, imaginative and whimsical performances, which magically engage the potential of theatre. Robert Lepage holds the conviction that theatre needs new blood in order to reach the audience of the new millennium - i.e. that stage performance should be a fusion of theatre, dance, drama, opera and music as well as video art and multimedia. 

Robert Lepage's coming Hans Christian Andersen performance is one of four international co-productions initiated by the Hans Christian Andersen Secretariat, represented by Secretary General Lars Seeberg.

"An important ingredient in the celebration of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary both in Denmark and abroad will be the international stage performance productions set to tour the world in 2005, all of which will visit Denmark. Many exciting world artists representing all art forms will render their own personal interpretations of Andersen. The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation takes great pride and pleasure in the fact that so many of those we have approached have accepted our invitation to draw inspiration from Andersen. Revisiting Andersen's tales was in many cases a revelation to the artists and decisive in their decision to join the Andersen bicentenary. Among the many proposed options, Lepage chose to interpret Hans Christian Andersen by adopting a truly magical and scenic expression. The performance will undoubtedly be one of the grand theatrical experiences of the bicentenary," says Lars Seeberg.