Needles and Opium

NAC Theatre

NAC Theatre

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Marc Labrèche

Nicola-Frank Vachon

Marc Labrèche

Nicola-Frank Vachon

Marc Labrèche

Nicola-Frank Vachon

Wellesley Robertson III

Nicola-Frank Vachon

NAC Co-presentation

  • written and directed by Robert Lepage
  • English translation by Jenny Montgomery

Approximately 95 minutes with no intermission.

Copresented by the NAC English Theatre and Théâtre français du CNA and Canada's Magnetic North Theatre Festival

Through highly visual staging, which is as much magic as it is theatre, Robert Lepage revisits, 20 years after its first production, Needles and Opium.

One night in 1949, on the plane bringing him back to France, Jean Cocteau writes his Lettre aux Américains in which fascination and disenchantment intertwine: he has just discovered New York, where he presented his most recent feature film, L’Aigle à deux têtes. At the same time, Miles Davis is visiting Paris for the first time, bringing bebop with him to the old continent. Parisian jazz fans are ecstatic. As the notes of Je suis comme je suis linger in the air, Juliette Greco opens her arms to him.

Forty years later, at the Hotel La Louisiane, in Paris, a lonely Québécois tries in vain to forget his former lover. His emotional torments echo Cocteau’s dependence on opium and that of Davis’ on heroin. There begins a spectacular withdrawal experience where the words and drawings of the prince of poets and the blue notes of the exceptional jazzman, accompany his leap into nothingness, the desperate effort of a man looking inwards in order to vanquish the pain and liberate himself from his love addiction.

Thru highly visual staging, which is as much magic as it is theatre, Robert Lepage revisits, 20 years after its first production, Needles and Opium. A new scenography, original images, and an acrobat onstage complement Cocteau’s words and Marc Labrèche’s sensitive and ingenious performance. The result is a production with mesmerizing effects, a journey into the night that puts us under a spell and leads us into the light.

Needles and Opium marks the first presentation at the NAC directed by Lepage since the huge success of The Blue Dragon (Le Dragon Bleu).

An Ex Machina production (Québec) co-production with Théâtre du Trident, Québec; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Montréal; Adelaide Festival; New Zealand Festival; Le Grand T, théâtre de Loire-Atlantique; Les Quinconces-L’espal, scène conventionnée, théâtres du Mans; Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon; Le Volcan, Scène nationale du Havre; Festival de Otoño a Primavera, Madrid.

Did you know?
From 1989 to 1993, Robert Lepage was Artistic Director of Théâtre français at the National Arts Centre, and has since gone on to direct for the Metropolitan Opera, London’s National Theatre, and Cirque du Soleil.

“Mind-blowing; mind-boggling. Once again director Robert Lepage fills us with wonder with his hypnotic multimedia projections. This is a must see.”

Isabelle-Ann Charlebois, The Charlebois Post

Videos

Credits

  • with Marc Labrèche
  • Wellesley Robertson III
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