Slideshow Playing Cards: SPADES

Video Clip

Playing Cards: SPADES
// Tours


  • Text
    Sylvio Arriola
    Carole Faisant
    Nuria Garcia
    Tony Guilfoyle
    Martin Haberstroh
    Robert Lepage
    Sophie Martin
    Roberto Mori
  • Director
    Robert Lepage
  • Dramaturg
    Peder Bjurman
  • Director Assistant
    Félix Dagenais
  • Performed by
    Sylvio Arriola
    Nuria Garcia
    Tony Guilfoyle
    Martin Haberstroh
    Sophie Martin
    Roberto Mori
  • Original music composed and performed by
    Philippe Bachman
  • Set Designer
    Jean Hazel
  • Lighting Designer
    Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun
    Assisted by Renaud Pettigrew
  • Sound Designer
    Jean-Sébastien Côté
  • Costume Designer
    Sébastien Dionne
    Assisted by Stéphanie Cléroux
  • Props Designer
    Virginie Leclerc
  • Images Designer
    David Leclerc
  • Wind Artist
    Daniel Wurtzel
  • Wigs
    Rachel Tremblay
  • Production Manager
    Marie-Pierre Gagné
  • Tour Manager
    Vanessa Landry-Claverie
    Marie Rondot
    Léa Touzé
  • Technical Director
    Paul Bourque
  • Technical Director - touring
    Patrick Durnin
  • Stage Manager
    Katia Talbot
  • Lighting Manager
    Renaud Pettigrew
  • Sound Manager
    Stanislas Elie
  • Video Manager
    Nicolas Dostie
  • Costume Manager
    Sylvie Courbron
  • Props Manager
    Virginie Leclerc
  • Head Stagehand
    Anne Marie Bureau
  • Stagehands
    Eric Pierre Blanchard
    Nicolas Boudreau
  • Technical Consultants
    Catherine Guay
    Tobie Horswill
  • Additionnal musics
    Deck of Cards written by Texas Tyler, published by Universal Songs of Polygram International Inc. and by Cambell Connelly and Co. LTD, performed by Winston Conrad Martindale, used with permission of Universal Music Canada
    La Notte È Piccola by Bruno Canfora, Franco Castellano and Giuseppe Moccia, used with permission of Spirit music group, inc.
  • Additionnal images
    Apuesta por un amor used by kind permission of Televisa
  • Set building
    Astuce Décors
  • Costume maker
    Par Apparat conception créative
  • Director's Agent
    Lynda Beaulieu
  • An Ex Machina production initiated by the 360° Network and commissioned by Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts & Creativity
    in coproduction with
    Teatro Circo Price – Madrid °
    La Comète – Scène nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne °
    Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon
    Cirque Jules Verne & Maison de la Culture – Scène nationale d'Amiens °
    Roundhouse – Londres °
    Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe - Paris
    Wiener Festwochen - Wien
    Chekhov International Theatre Festival – Moscow
    Østre Gasværk Teater – Copenhague °
    La Tohu - Montréal °
    International Stage at Gasverket Stockholm °
    Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
    Holland Festival
    ° Members of the 360° Network, an international group of round artistic venues.
  • Associate Production - Europe, Japan
    Epidemic (Richard Castelli, assisted by Chara Skiadelli, Florence Berthaud and Claire Dugot)
  • Associate Production - The Americas, Asia (except Japan), Australia, NZ
    Menno Plukker Theatre Agent (Menno Plukker, assisted by Sarah Rogers and Dominique Sarrazin)
  • Ex Machina Producer
    Michel Bernatchez
  • Ex Machina is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Quebec's Arts and Literature Council and the City of Quebec.

Playing Cards: SPADES


Regular deck: 52 cards. 4 colours. 4 royal families. 2 jokers.
Tarot deck: 78 cards. 4 symbols. 4 royal families. 21 arcana or trump cards. 1 joker.

Card games consist of a series of rules, symbols, signs, mathematical or numerological structures, mythologies, and, above all, characters. By combining and ordering them, you can create as many stories as there are possible arrangements. At least that’s the intuition guiding Robert Lepage and his collaborators on the project called Playing Cards. With such a range of possibilities, the creators imposed the structure of a deck of cards on the project. It will consist of four parts: SPADES, HEARTS, DIAMONDS, and CLUBS, each exploring a universe inspired by the asset the suit represents.

Research into the origin of cards invariably leads back to the Arab world. The tetralogy’s four parts, each independent and yet interrelated with the others, will make up a cosmos dealing with our past, present and future relationships, our exchanges, and sometimes too, our culture shocks when encountering the Arab way of life.

Playing Cards: SPADES
The first part, SPADES, explores the theme of war. The action juxtaposes two desert cities, at the moment in history when the United States invades Iraq. On one side is Las Vegas, a caricature of the Western World’s values, and on the other, Bagdad, bombed by President Bush in the name of promoting democracy.

This Tower of Babel, the gambling capital, brings together characters of different origins and affinities. During a weekend on the Strip, they will reveal the city’s multifaceted identity: the kingdom of showbiz and bling, a lieu of passage, a multicultural crossroads, a place where anything goes, a meeting point between wealth (sometimes extreme) and poverty.

Beyond luck, chance and excess, Las Vegas is also unveiled as an empire of illusions, escape and vertigo. These characters – like the gambling city that chooses to keep on playing even though the country is at war – will fight private battles with their demons here, in hopes of resolving their own contradictions.

How will the game turn out: decay or redemption? All bets are on.


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