Needles and Opium

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Marc Labrèche © Nicola-Frank Vachon

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

NAC Co-presentation

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.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

25 May

26 May

27 May

  • 7:30 PM Preview

28 May

  • 7:30 PM Preview

29 May

  • 7:30 PM Opening Night

30 May

  • 2:00 PM Matinee
  • 7:30 PM

31 May

  • 2:00 PM Matinee

1 Jun

2 Jun

  • 7:30 PM

3 Jun

  • 7:30 PM Talkback

4 Jun

  • 7:30 PM Talkback

5 Jun

  • 7:30 PM

6 Jun

  • 2:00 PM Matinee
  • 7:30 PM

7 Jun

Duration

Performance is approximately 95 minutes with no intermission.

video:
Marc Labrèche © Nicola-Frank Vachon
Marc Labrèche © Nicola-Frank Vachon
Marc Labrèche © Nicola-Frank Vachon
Wellesley Robertson III © Nicola-Frank Vachon

Artists

  • written and directed by Robert Lepage
  • English translation by Jenny Montgomery
  • with Marc Labrèche
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