20 February 2005: Lepage, The Far Side of the Moon

American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge. Written and directed by Robert Lepage. Performed by Yves Jacques

A stunning adaptation of technology to the subject matter and context of America’s first and subsequent attempts to put a man on the moon. I have not had the chance to write up in a proper way the details of this production, and much of it regrettably has gone out of my head. Gigantic mirrors, projections, and many other devices were used to tell the story of two brothers, their mother, and a few other characters who live through (except for the mother) the period and attempt to make sense of their lives.

It reminded me of the idea I have long had, that technology is destiny, so to speak: if we develop the technology to do something, it becomes irresistible to do it. If we figure out a way to put a man on the moon, we will put a man on the moon. In the circumstances of the present fiction, there is a transference process in which man then becomes the unwilling or inadvertent creature of his own technological capacities. This could turn out to have a frightening effect on us, but in the present instance we were not so much frightened as enthralled. And the production, risking at every moment that something could fail or come off badly, or that timing could be off, actually came off flawlessly. Very exhilarating and at times beautiful, and at other times moving.


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An American Playgoer at Home by Joseph Donohue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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