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© Julie Charland
“In the Marquis de Sade, Robert Lepage has found an alter ego who, like him, is a slave to his passion. Moving!” Luc Boulanger, La Presse

The plea of a sinister, subversive soul

How far would you go to silence someone who deliberately harms living beings and undermines morality? In the hands of Robert Lepage and Jean‑Pierre Cloutier, Doug Wright’s masterful work about the role of the artist, censorship, and the power of suppressed desires is rendered as a dazzling game of mirrors … that reflect the figure of the Marquis de Sade.

The Marquis de Sade is confined in the Charenton Asylum, where the Abbé de Coulmier is trying to rehabilitate him. Under pressure from his chief medical officer, and tormented by the scathing tongue and pen of his inmate, the warden gradually descends into a barbarity even worse than the one he is trying to eradicate. Interweaving brilliant intellectual debate and distressingly brutal accounts, this eloquent condemnation of censorship unfolds in a stage setting where illusions multiply and overlap, framing a masterful performance by Robert Lepage.

*** 16 years old and up ***

Special screening of Peter Brook’s film Marat/Sade (free admission)

Monday, October 1 at 6 p.m.

Synopsis: Author of scandalous libertine novels, the Marquis de Sade is confined in the asylum at Charenton, just outside Paris. Marie-Constance Quesnet, his mistress, gets permission to join him there. Thanks to the benevolence of the director of the establishment, until 1808, Sade is authorized to organize theatrical performances—including a re-enactment of the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, emblematic figure of the French Revolution ...

The screening will be followed by a talkback with Professor Julie Paquette, a specialist in the life and work of the Marquis de Sade.

Free admission / 16 years old and up

Running time: 2 hours 

Location: Azrieli Studio of the National Arts Centre (1 Elgin Street, Ottawa)

Original English version with French subtitles

This event is made possible by a partnership between
the Alliance Française d’Ottawa and NAC French Theatre.

Performance is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with no intermission.

© Julie Charland
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois
© Stephane Bourgeois


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  • Writer Doug Wright
  • Translated by Jean-Pierre Cloutier
  • Directed and designed by Jean-Pierre Cloutier and Robert Lepage
  • Cast Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Érika Gagnon, Pierre-Olivier Grondin, Robert Lepage, Jean-Sébastien Ouellette and Mary-Lee Picknell
  • Assistant director Adèle Saint-Amand
  • Lighting design Lucie Bazzo
  • Soundscape Antoine Bédard
  • Costume design Sébastien Dionne
  • Associate set designer Christian Fontaine
  • Props Sylvie Courbron
  • Wigs Richard Hansen
  • Makeup Gabrielle Brulotte
  • Production manager Marie-Pierre Gagné
  • Production assistant and Tour manager Véronique St-Jacques
  • Technical directors Catherine Guay et Paul Bourque
  • Technical director, touring Catherine Guay
  • Stage manager Francis Beaulieu
  • Sound engineer Stanislas Élie
  • Lighting engineer François Ferland Bilodeau
  • Costumes and props manager Katia Talbot
  • Lead stagehand Anne-Marie Bureau
  • Stagehand Sylvain Béland
  • Technical consultant Tobie Horswill
  • Set construction Astuce Décors and Scène Éthique
  • Set conception Alain Gagné
  • Costume construction By Apparat confection créative & Sébastien Dionne
  • Robert Lepage’s agent Lynda Beaulieu
  • Produced by Ex Machina
  • In coproduction with NAC French Theatre; Le Théâtre du Trident - Québec; Les Nuits de Fourvière - Lyon; La Comète - scène nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne and La Colline, théâtre national - Paris
  • Producer for Ex Machina Michel Bernatchez (assisted by Vanessa Landry-Claverie)
  • Executive producer – Europe, Japan Epidemic (Richard Castelli, assisted by Chara Skiadelli, Florence Berthaud and Claire Dugot)
  • Executive producer – The Americas, Asia (except Japan), Oceania Menno Plukker Theatre Agent (Menno Plukker, assisted by Magdalena Marszalek and Isaïe Richard)
  • Originally produced by New York Theater Workshop (1995) / Jim Nicola, Artistic Director / Nancy Kassak Diekmann, Managing Director
  • Acknowledgements Jean-Pierre Cloutier particularly wishes to thank Anthony Brien. Thank you also to Karine P. Boulianne, Benjamin Déziel, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Christian Garon, Michel Nadeau, Sébastien Dorval, Pierre Cloutier, Dominique Rivard, Claire-Alexie Turcot, Emanuel Zetino, and to the employees of Ex Machina and Robert Lepage Inc. // Antoine Bédard particularly wishes to thank Xavier Brossard-Ménard (musical direction and vocal arrangements), François Zeitouni (organ), Stéphanie Pothier (mezzo-soprano),Saint-Lambert Choral Society and Dominique Éthier.
  • Funding Ex Machina is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Quebec's Arts and Literature Council and the City of Quebec.