Ex Machina / Robert Lepage

Hydro-Québec Auditorium

World premiere

For those who have lived in Quebec City for a long time, the word Courville evokes a village from another era that was located on the outskirts of Quebec City, Canada.

The name has since disappeared and Courville has been fused into a suburb that merged later on with Quebec City. But some remember what was distinctive about the place: its immediate vicinity to the Montmorency Falls, the highest in North America, and its Ordovician limestone subsoil that created a multitude of more or less giant caves outcropping under an uncertain surface.

Courville also recalls of a more ordinary reality: the Quebec suburbs of the 1970s and their now obsolete bungalows. And, by extension, the concerns of the time. The Cold War, which finds an outlet in exciting hockey tournaments between Canada and Soviet Russia. The sometimes trippy pop of progressive rock. The eternal national psychodrama in which French and English speakers clash, and which will soon be exacerbated. And the beginning of the end of what is called, at that time, the “nuclear family”, this sociological bubble where the mirages of consumption sometimes hide sordid relationships.

On November 15, 1975, Simon is 17 years old, has his own room in the basement of a pavilion in Courville, a widowed mother mixed up with a shifty uncle, an involuntary and painfully permanent tattoo on his chest, a female friend who woos him without much success and a male friend who is as clueless as he is athletic. The coming year will precipitate things, the social unrest that is gradually taking place will find dramatic and decisive echoes in the life of the young man.

Courville sketches the portrait of a complex adolescence, where the backdrop of collective euphoria cannot occult the torments of sexual awakening, the weight of the look of others or the obsession of appearances. Throughout the show, the ancestral technique of bunraku is used to bring life to puppets of all sizes that embody Simon and his entourage. On stage, Robert Lepage is the narrator of the story.

13 years and up

Sep 19 to Oct 23, 2021 — 2h15 approx. with no intermission $37 — $84

Sold Out

Photo — Elias Djemil
Photo — Elias Djemil
Photo — Elias Djemil
Photo — Elias Djemil
Photo — Elias Djemil

What People Are Saying...

"Si vous pensez que des marionnettes ne peuvent que difficilement incarner les émotions humaines, détrompez-vous. Dans Courville, aidés par une musique bien choisie du début à la fin, les sanglots qui secouent les pantins ébranlent aussi les spectateurs."

Le Soleil

"L'imagination débridée du créateur n’a d’égale que son audace à créer et à expérimenter de nouveaux effets scéniques."

Le Journal de Québec

"Courville réussit à mélanger Pink Floyd, Batman et élection du Parti Québécois, le tout dans un spectacle d’une durée de 3h20 qui ne s’essouffle pas. Robert Lepage prouve encore une fois qu’il fait du théâtre à un autre niveau."


"Sur scène, la facture est d’ailleurs particulièrement cinématographique — projections remarquables sur les divers pans du décor, musique enveloppante. Dans une construction bourrée d’ingéniosités scéniques que l’on passerait facilement sous silence tant elles caractérisent le travail d’Ex Machina se déploient les quelques marionnettes de grande taille qui, à la façon du théâtre bunraku, constituent une nouveauté dans le travail de la compagnie."

Le Devoir



Robert Lepage


Wellesley Robertson
Caroline Tanguay
Martin Vaillancourt


Written, designed, directed and performed by Robert Lepage
Design and Creative Director Steve Blanchet
Assistant Director Francis Beaulieu
Puppeteers Wellesley Robertson IIICaroline TanguayMartin Vaillancourt
Associate Set Designer Ariane Sauvé
Puppet Design and building Jean-Guy WhiteCéline White
Composer and Sound Designer Mathieu Doyon
Image Designer Félix Fradet-Faguy
Lighting Designer Nicolas Descôteaux
Costume Designer Virginie Leclerc
Properties Designer Jeanne Lapierre


  • Radio-Canada
  • Le Soleil Numérique

Public Sponsors of the Programming

  • Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
  • Canada
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Ville de Québec