BAM presents Ex Machina's high-tech solo show created by and starring renowned director Robert Lepage about his childhood at 887 Murray Avenue, Quebec City, Canada. More…
Populated with miniature neighbors, family members, and the many stories embedded in rooms, walls, and windows, '887' constructs an evocative memory palace. As Lepage revisits his childhood home and other brilliantly reconfigured spaces from his past and present—among them his current Quebec City flat and the front seat of his father’s taxi—he unearths a life’s worth of memories, sifting through the things we can’t seem to recall and those we are unable to forget.
“In the heart-stoppingly gorgeous ‘887,’ the auteur is deft and perfect again, meshing reminiscence and images together with a watchmaker's care…The gentle memory show combusts into a political cri de coeur. Details from earlier in the play explode like timed charges…You leave, at least partially knowing how he felt. A day later, I can still feel the show smoldering its way through my synapses—searing its way into being unforgettable.” Full Review
“An intensely personal revisiting of his childhood in Quebec...If '887’ is essentially the story of a memory exercise, it is all the more authentic as the presentation of life as it is lived, without much time to connect the dots. What makes the show memorable is its artistry. ‘887’ is theater on a grand scale...It is storytelling as great performance, with Lepage moving seamlessly through childhood and adulthood...Proof again of Lepage’s unparalleled powers of observation and creative genius." Full Review
“A shabby apartment building becomes a cabinet of wonders in Ex Machina’s glittering ‘887’…The show’s beginning is seductive, brazen…The play has its excessively tangential moments and some indulgent ones, too…Its best moments share a childlike simplicity…There are many technological marvels but they’re humanely scaled and rarely deployed for their own sake. Raw emotional force builds from the accretion of slight moments of remembrance and discovery.” Full Review
for a previous production "How to remember? He tries an ancient method – the memory palace: think of a place you know well, assign to areas within it those things you want to recall. This subtly develops into an exploration of what makes a life worthwhile, a society worth living in...Lepage dazzlingly creates shifting perspectives to conjure his unique private-public memoryscape...This unostentatious, meticulously crafted two-hour performance is touching, intimate, powerful." Full Review
for a previous production "'887' is a rare experience, a play about memory that those lucky enough to see it will never forget...It’s impossible to overstate how dazzling and delightful these effects are. But the details in Lepage’s down-to-earth storytelling work their own simple magic...'887’s' two hours are packed with indelible images and thought-provoking reflections on the nature of family, identity, and culture. These memories started as Lepage’s, but now they’re ours, too, and I’m deeply, deeply grateful." Full Review
for a previous production "A deeply autobiographical examination of memory and belonging...Lepage’s father — a taxi driver working all hours to provide for his wife, four children and an aging mother — is the hero of the piece, while Lepage accounts himself honestly as sometimes brittle and egotistical, with several jokes at his own expense. There are slightly awkward 'conversations' with invisible characters on stage, but two hours, with no interval, of often ingenious storytelling never pales." Full Review
for a previous production "Lepage proves he needs to consistently push the boundaries and nowhere is that more evident than in his technical wizardry...Lepage is an artist who is constantly striving for intellectual inquiry and he adds new layers to the piece by questioning the act of remembering itself...The foundations of the show, then, are simple, personal; the ramifications complex, far-reaching. The tone is wistful but not without insouciant wit and self-irony." Full Review
for a previous production "'887' feels like classic, technology-heavy Lepage, but he brings his theatrical flamboyance to bear on himself in a cool, considered solo performance...in what ends up as a moving meditation on memory, history, language and family...It’s a playful, lyrical piece, sometimes unsettlingly honest, sometimes broader and more philosophical, even political...His technology binds everything together seamlessly, and indeed often brings a sense of magic to something quite mundane." Full Review
for a previous production "Robert Lepage’s extraordinary solo play '887' prompts such tantalizing, ultimately unanswerable questions. Autobiographically rooted, it peers into Lepage’s past. It explores what it means to be Québécois. It ponders the significance of theatre. It blends digital technology with children’s toys with some very funny lines. And all the while, '887' is as welcoming and resonant as Lepage’s voice itself." Full Review
for a previous production "There’s a theme bubbling beneath the surface about class and opportunity, and the suggestion that the great movements of history were determined by injustice and inequality. Lepage continues to develop his work beyond opening night and he may yet find more mileage in the story of his grandmother, whose memory loss chimes with the themes of '887' but doesn’t fully connect. That, though, is a minor niggle in a work that delights, mesmerizes and provokes." Full Review
for a previous production "Lepage draws on electronics to enhance rather than dominate his powerful approach to storytelling...And while the show explores the political, historical, and cultural ramifications of this centuries-old racism, '887' does not pander to victim mentality polemics...There are several stretches of tedium during the play’s two hours. The script could benefit greatly from trimming...That said, there are scenes that provide moments of Lepage’s distinctive radiance." Full Review
for a previous production "'887' glides smoothly through time and place, artfully constructing a cloud of associations as it goes...Lepage never ties everything together, preferring that cloud to anything more concrete...Even if you don't come away with fresh understanding of history and memory, it's a beguiling show, full of ultra-pleasing theatricality...Only afterwards do you realise how little it leaves behind, as ephemeral as a memory. But then, maybe, that's the point." Full Review
for a previous production "Memory is not a smooth silk but a loose and lumpy fabric of threads drawn from the past. And this show does not keep a smooth or logical order; rather it is composed of small moments from childhood — precise, poignant, surreal — cut with the collective memory of a people trying to define itself...'887' is rich, baggy and overlong...This one, full of strange and fascinating insights, is a bit like listening to someone describe their dream. You feel it would benefit from an outside editor." Full Review
See it if you want to see the work of a genius. Lepage is a master of stage-craft and story telling. Very moving and beautiful.
Don't see it if If you prefer traditional plays with a linear plot you might hate this. If you are not patient.
See it if Enjoy creative theater, want to see a calm and thoughtful production, like Robert Lepage, history of Quebec resonates with you.
Don't see it if Do not enjoy steady-paced shows, do not enjoy one person or autobiographical shows.
See it if You appreciate great storytelling, human and personal stories in greater context, inventive staging, and/or interested in Canadian history
Don't see it if You don't like one person theater- though it's much more than that
See it if You want to enjoy a masterful solo performance that, with a very clever staging, recreates the author's childhood memories.
Don't see it if You don't like minimalistic solo performances. This show is basically a " memoir " that might look slow at times. It is partially in French
See it if you want to see something you've never seen before. The stagecraft is magic.
Don't see it if you have poor vision and are in the back row. Some of what's on view is very small!
See it if You know who Robert Lepage is and enjoy his avant-garde works. He uses his skills to tell the story of his childhood in Quebec.
Don't see it if You do not like solo performances. This is not in the form of a dramatic play with many characters. You dislike a few foreign words.
See it if You're interested in non-traditional theater w/ an incredible set, brilliantly-told personal history, & want to be consider your own memory.
Don't see it if You want a big dance number.
See it if you want to immerse yourself in a black box of magic, become enchanted by Robert Lepage's magnificent sort of sleight of hand.
Don't see it if you want a straight, "normal" plot, you get bored by magical sets and transitions, you are deeply bothered by reading occasional subtitles.
See it if you want to see an absolutely fascinating play about childhood that is deeply entrenched in memory and French-Canadian history.
Don't see it if if you don't like one-man shows or shows that break the traditional theatre told.
See it if Lepage, the accomplished and sometimes controversial director, explores how memory works. Focuses on his childhood and Quebec separatism
Don't see it if Lucky to sit in the front and able to see every nook and cranny of the amazing set. Seven stagehands to operate. Lepage gives it his all
See it if You want to see an enfant terrible grown up but still playing with toys, only now it's a huge box of tricks engineered by his Ex Machina Co.
Don't see it if You don't like one-person shows, or toys or don't think Canadians can be egotistical, political and charming!
See it if You want to learn about late 20th Century French Canadian social issues.
Don't see it if Like me, you don't like one person shows that cannot transcend the inherent limitations of the form.
See it if you want to be dazzled by technical wizardry, but not at the cost of an emotional story.
Don't see it if you need a focused, linear plot to keep your attention - the play jumps around in time and space, in my opinion, though, this works great.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies