HCA NEWS Lepage unveils dark new play on life of HCA

Quebec playwright and producer Robert Lepage will reach creative extremes this week when he unveils a dark, new one-man play as well as a massive Vegas spectacle with a cast and crew of hundreds.

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 02 February 2005

Lepage was in Quebec City on Tuesday to introduce his solo portrayal of Hans Christian Andersen, the writer famous for his children's tales and less known for dozens of twisted short stories, novels and poetry.

But later this week, Lepage will be in Las Vegas for the splashy official debut of KA, a Cirque du Soleil extravaganza that used up most of Lepage's time and energy for two years.

"By comparison, this is certainly Lepage unplugged," Lepage said from the modest Quebec City stage where Le Projet Andersen will premiere later this month.

The Andersen piece was commissioned by the Queen of Denmark for national celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of his birth. Lepage will translate the play into English before hitting Denmark in the spring and Europe next fall.

Lepage read dozens of Andersen's lesser-known writings and discovered a dark side dealing with obsession and ambiguous sexuality.

Lepage said it was an intriguing area to explore of a Danish hero best known for fairy tales like The Princess and the Pea and The Ugly Duckling. Best to leave the children at home for this Andersen tale, Lepage advised.

"They should have a look first, it does deal with delicate subject matter. The word masturbation comes to mind," he said.

"There's a lot of stuff dealing with porn and prostitution. Andersen was a great genius, but also a complicated man who was looking to be something more than a children's book writer. There is a darker side, a twisted side, to Andersen", says Lepage to Associated Press.