Far Side of the Moon asks: are we alone?

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SFU Woodwards brings Robert Lepage’s critically acclaimed Far Side of the Moon to Vancouver for a limited engagement this November.

Set against the background of the Soviet-American space race, Far Side of the Moon is the epic story of Philippe, a man who is deeply grieving. Trying to cope with the loss of his mother and estrangement from his only sibling, Philippe loses Yves Jacques in a scene from Robert Lepage's Far Side of the Moonhis connection to time and place, which in turn, allows him to receive mysterious teachings from the sky.  Memories from childhood and adolescence become touchstones in this one-man show as Philippe deals with the fundamental question: “are we alone?”

Yves Jacques (photo right in a scene from the play), who has been touring the show to rave reviews since 2001 and will appear in the show November 1-4 before being replaced by Lepage himself, tells us more about Far Side of the Moon:

Tell us about Far Side of the Moon – what can audiences expect?

A beautiful, funny, yet moving and poetic play about reconciliation!

How did you come about to being part of the production?

I’ve been following Robert’s work for almost ten years before being asked to take over two of his wonderful solo shows. Robert and I started together as young actors in the same theatre in Quebec City so it was a natural when the opportunity came of finding someone to play these shows on tour.

You’ve been touring the show since 2001 – how do you keep it fresh?

I just don’t think about that … I just start and let myself being surprised by what’s going to happen next …  after ten years, the show is being part of my whole self, like a pianist who’s been playing The Moonlight Sonata for years … you just let yourself go and float!

Has the show changed since you started performing?

Robert made some changes when I started rehearsing, because for the first time he had the opportunity of seing the show for real, I mean from the audience and see if he could make it better!

The show uses puppets to help tell its story – do you have a background as a puppeteer?

I always loved everything related to puppets and I feel great when I get a chance in the show to interfere with this little cosmonaut who’s like a “gardien angel” but I don’t personnaly manipulate a puppet in the show …

The show is also very technical – how did you prepare yourself for the technical aspects of the show?

You have to be very humble as an actor to work on a Lepage’s show, because “technic” IS a charactor …  so you let it live like you would have another actor on stage with you!

Where do you find your inspiration for the two brothers?

I was born being the third child, with a holder brother and then suddenly, my parents had this little boy taking my place …  so I was stuck between two brothers! I have a lot of inspiration for this show, let me tell you!

The play takes place during the Soviet and American space race – how do you see this time
period as having relevance today?

As a beautifull “Happy Ending” …  we were close to a big world war, weren’t we? That’s what I like in the show … as long as we get to the end, we can see these two brother reconciliating as well as those astronauts and cosmonauts! Some aiming for the Moon, the other two aiming to their mother.

What is your hope that an audience will be talking/thinking about as they leave the theatre?

Everywhere we went, people were touched emotionally and they kept talking about this relevance of seeing Philippe, one of the two brothers, floating in space at the end of the show as a way for Lepage to tell us, that we are part of a huge Universe, but to be part of it, we have to get rid of all these little thing that are bloking our view, to finally touch what we call the ultimate vertigo! To find the balance between the infinitly insignificant and the infinitly important…

Are we alone?

Who knows! But I think that more we hear about water being discovered on other planets, more we are close to hear about other kinds of living species … no?

Far Side of the Moon
1 – 10 November 2012
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU

One of Canada’s most revered theatre artists, Lepage’s stunning theatrical show explores one man’s search for meaning through loss and estrangement set against the backdrop of the US/Russian Moon Race. Visit https://tickets.thecultch.com for tickets and information.

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