Slideshow Playing Cards: HEARTS

Video Clips

Playing Cards: HEARTS
Playing Cards: HEARTS
// Tours


  • Text
    Louis Fortier
    Reda Guerinik
    Ben Grant
    Catherine Hughes
    Kathryn Hunter
    Robert Lepage
    Marcello Magni
    Olivier Normand
  • Director
    Robert Lepage
  • Dramaturg
    Peder Bjurman
  • Assistant Director
    Sybille Wilson
  • Performed by
    Louis Fortier
    Kathryn Hunter or Nuria Garcia
    Reda Guerinik or Mustapha Aramis
    Ben Grant
    Catherine Hughes
    Marcello Magni or John Cobb
    Olivier Normand
  • Original music & sound design
    Jean-Sébastien Côté
  • Assisted by
    Donato Wharton
  • Set Designers
    Michel Gauthier and Jean Hazel
  • Lighting Designer
    Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun
  • Assisted by
    Renaud Pettigrew
  • Costume Designer
    Sébastien Dionne
  • Assisted by
    Gabrielle Arseneault
  • Props Designer
    Virginie Leclerc
  • Assisted by
    Ariane Sauvé et Jeanne Lapierre
  • Images Designer
    David Leclerc
  • Wigs
    Rachel Tremblay
  • Production Manager
    Marie-Pierre Gagné
  • Production Assistant
    Véronique St-Jacques
  • Tour Manager
    Marie Rondot
    Léa Touzé
  • Technical Director
    Patrick Durnin
  • Assisted by
    Paul Bourque
  • Stage Manager
    Katia Talbot
  • Sound Manager
    Donato Wharton
  • Ligthing Manager
    Renaud Pettigrew
  • Video Manager
    Nicolas Dostie
    Steve Montambault
  • Costume Manager
    Sylvie Courbron
  • Props Manager
    Virginie Leclerc
    Émie Durette
  • Head Stagehand
    Anne Marie Bureau
  • Stagehands
    Eric Pierre Blanchard
    Nicolas Boudreau
    Jean-François Morel
  • Technical Consultants
    Catherine Guay
    Tobie Horswill
  • Consultant for magic
    Philippe Beau
  • Additionnal musics
    Noctune # 1 in F, op. 15 by Frederic Chopin, performed by Idil Biret from album "NOCTURNES" 8.554045, used with the permission of Naxos of America
    Les Roses du Bengaleby Jacques Offenbach performed by Marco Sollini, from album Offenbach, J.: Piano Music, Vol. I CPO 777079-2, used with the permission of Naxos of America
    The Fountains of the Villa d'Este by Franz Liszt performed by Jenö Jando, from album Liszt - Years of Pilgrimage Vol. 3 (Third Year) 8.550550, used with the permission of Naxos of America
    Taqsim Au Qanoun performed by l'Ensemble Ibn' Arabi, used with the permission of Long Distance Productions
    Marche de la Légion étrangère from album "Anthologie de la musique militaire française des origines à 1870" performed by Les Musiciens de la Marine Nationale, used with the permission of France Productions
    Les Africains from album "Anthologie de la musique militaire française des origines à 1870" performed by Les Musiciens de la Marine Nationale, used with the permission of France Productions
    La Belle vie written by Jack Reardon and Jean Brousolle, composed by Sacha Distel, used with the permission of Prosadis and Universal Music Canada Inc
    The Pain after composed and performed by Rabih Abou-Khalil, used with the permission of Enja Records
  • Set building
    Astuce Décors
  • Costume maker
    Par Apparat conception créative
  • Director's Agent
    Lynda Beaulieu
  • An Ex Machina production
    initiated by the 360° Network
    in coproduction with
    La Comète – Scène nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne °
    Cirque Jules Verne & Maison de la Culture – Scène nationale d'Amiens °
    La Tohu - Montréal °
    Østre Gasværk Teater – Copenhague °
    Roundhouse – Londres °
    Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
    ° 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)
  • Producer for Ex Machina
    Michel Bernatchez (assisted by Vanessa Landry-Claverie)
  • Ex Machina is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Quebec's Arts and Literature Council and the City of Quebec.

Playing Cards: HEARTS


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: HEARTS
In Playing Cards: HEARTS, a web is woven around three countries and across five generations, linking Algeria, France and Quebec, from the 1848 Spring of Nations to the Arab Spring.

In 2011, Chaffik, a young North African taxi driver in Quebec City, delves into his genealogical past to untangle questionable events linked to the disappearance of his grandfather and the origins of his family.

In 1856, renowned French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin is sent to Algeria by the French government to challenge the spiritual and magical powers of the marabouts.

Chaffik and Robert-Houdin are connected by a familial, political and artistic network naturally woven by history and stories, along with questions of faith, beliefs, magic and performances. These themes fit together like clockwork.

HEARTS tells the story of colonial Algeria, a confluence of foreign politics and French inventions in magic, science and photography. These innovations and ideas incubate in the alleys of Algiers and become essential tools of the Algerian resistance.

HEARTS also explores 19th-century France, particularly French magicians (Robert-Houdin and Méliès) and their relationship to science and cinema.

Among bureaucratic archivists in Paris, Chaffik uncovers the story of a forger from the resistance and traces links between France and its former colony.

In Quebec, we meet Chaffik, his immigrant family and his girlfriend Judith, who is a lecturer in cinema theory at Laval University and the daughter of a diplomat. She is the centre point of all these rotating gears.

With a 360° scene design, the set of HEARTS becomes everything from a magic lantern with fantastic stories and cinematic images, to a hot spot on the brink of exploding from a complex chain of relationships.


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