Exploring childhood through storytelling

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Exploring childhood through storytelling

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A scene from “The Andersen Project.” Provided by LG Arts Center

Canadian playwright Robert Lepage has once again married avant-garde theatrics with transcendental themes in his 2005 work, “The Andersen Project,” which is coming to the LG Arts Center this September. The play was commissioned by the Danish government to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth.
The plot centers on Frederic Lapointe, a Quebecois songwriter who wins a commission from Opera Garnier in France to write a libretto for a children’s opera based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen. Chance encounters with characters who live in different decades including a Parisian janitor, an Opera Garnier’s manager and Hans Christian Andersen, provide a journey of self-discovery for Lapointe. Through this, Lepage weaves themes of conflicted sexuality, fame, contrasting elements of romanticism and modernism, while using multimedia to push at visual boundaries and create a modern day fairy tale.
All the central characters will be played by Canadian Yves Jacques, who was featured in Lepage’s earlier work, “The Far Side of the Moon.”
The play is loosely based on “The Dryad” by Andersen as well as episodes from the author’s personal life, which in a lot of ways, mirror Lepage’s own struggles.
Much like the 19th-century Danish author, Lepage had a troubled childhood. Andersen was scrutinized by his peers because of his physical oddities; Lepage was diagnosed with a rare form of alopecia when he was five and fought depression during adolescence.
Lepage went on to become a leading actor in the ’80s at Theatre Repere in Quebec, which paved his way to becoming a playwright, actor and film director. In 1992, when he was 35, he became the artistic director of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at London’s prestigious National Theatre. He founded Ex Machina, his production company, in 1993, producing internationally acclaimed works including “The Seven Streams of the River Ota,” and “Geometry of Miracles.” This is the second time that Korean audiences have been able to see his work. In 2003, Lepage and Ex Machina brought The Far Side of the Moon to the LG Arts Center.


“The Andersen Project” runs from Sept. 7 to 9 at the LG Arts Center in southern Seoul. The nearest subway is Yeoksam Station, line No. 2, exit 7. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.


By Cho Jae-eun Staff Writer [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
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