Robert Lepage visited MIT on Sunday, Feb. 12, to initiate a collaborative workshop with MIT students and launch the class 21M.805, Performance and Design Practicum. The lively event was attended by a group of more than 20 students who were eager to work with the renowned multidisciplinary performance and media artist who has been named the 2012 recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT.
Lepage began the day by outlining the creative process used by his production team, Ex Machina, to develop a performance. The “resource,” or catalyst of the workshop, was a deck of playing cards. The group developed a long list of creative possibilities present in cards, including numbers, concepts, personal stories and cultural histories. Throughout the workshop, Lepage interacted closely with students and emphasized the generative qualities of play.
Lepage will return to campus April 24 to 26, when he will work further with the students on the projects they execute during the semester and, among other activities, participate in a panel discussion with Peter Gelb, managing director of The Metropolitan Opera, in Kresge on April 26 at 5 p.m.
Also this weekend, a group of 22 MIT Arts Scholars led by Sam Magee, coordinator of student arts programs, went to New York to attend two operas at The Metropolitan Opera: the production of Götterdämmerung, directed by Robert Lepage; and The Barber of Seville. Many students returned to Cambridge just in time to participate in the workshop with Lepage as well, seizing the opportunity to work with the artist whose work they had just seen in New York.