2016 House Programs 887 - Page 4

The themes of memory and theatre have always been closely connected, primarily because theatre is probably the form of expression that best embodies collective memory. So it’s normal that cognitive decline and dementia are themes that are, at the very least, troubling for an actor. In a more pragmatic way, memory is strongly tied to theatre because those practicing it must put a lot of effort into memorization. I never would have guessed that the exploration of personal memory I embarked on to create this show would lead me to the complexities of the class struggle and identity crisis of 1960s-era Quebec. It’s as though the most distant memories of personal events are incomplete if they don’t take into account the social context in which they happened. This show is, therefore, not the discourse of an adult promoting a cause but rather a journey into a pre-adolescent’s memory, where the political and the poetic are often conflated. When an actor makes his or her first onstage debut, aren’t the first comments after the premiere usually “You’ve got a great memory!” or “How did you learn all those lines?” ►► ROBERT LEPAGE The proof is that, throughout history, the first thing a totalitarian regime does to ensure the eradication of a culture is to burn the books— an act that’s usually followed by killing the singers, the storytellers and the actors who carry the living memory of songs, poems and theatrical works. 887 is, for me, a humble attempt to delve into a history with a small “h” to better understand the one with the big “H.”