The first project Robert Lepage created for his company Ex Machina, The Seven Streams of the River Ota is a saga that opens in Hiroshima during the late 20th century and divides into seven tableaux. The symbolic centrepiece of the work is the major event of the explosion of the first atomic bomb, but the work also tells the story of a Czech artist whose childhood was marked by his time in the Terezin concentration camp and who died in Hiroshima, on the banks of the River Ota. To the themes of death by atomic bomb and in concentration camps is added that of death by virus, taking the form of a person with AIDS whose only escape is assisted suicide. In spite of so much grief, the idea of survival emerges with vigour, and Hiroshima resurfaces as a symbol of renaissance rather than destruction.
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