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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Ex Machina as multimedia performance space, Lepage in "Faust"

Robert Lepage founds Ex Machina to showcase his vision through images and technology, using a Quebec City renovated firehouse as a laboratory-theatre – La Caserne, which Robert Lepage refers to variously as "the mother ship", "an editing room", and "not only a physical space, but also a symbolic or imaginary space where we can develop performance arts". He speaks of its history, of the cultural heritage to which it lays claim, existing as it does "at the heart of the most ancient square kilometre of North America". For its part, the Quebec government calls it "a multimedia creative centre whose central purpose is research into new forms of representation".

Ronnie Burkett's marionette play Tinka's New Dress is a smash hit, winning several awards and garnering international acclaim, establishing his puppet theatre, founded in 1986, as a major force on the Canadian stage. Written by Burkett, who appeared on stage with his puppets, projecting his own voice into each figure, the play expands the concept of puppetry to a fully human social dimension: hurt, bewildered, malicious, overbearing – his puppets are capable of making love or murdering. Tinka's New Dress is developed into a trilogy with Street of Blood in 1999 and Happy in 2000.

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