The Council for the Arts at MIT has announced that Robert Lepage is the recipient of the 2012 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, which includes an $80,000 cash prize and a campus residency. Renowned as a director, filmmaker, playwright and actor, Lepage is currently directing Wagner’s Der Ring des Niebelungen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He also has created two Cirque du Soleil productions and The Image Mill™, a spectacular architectural illumination and urban projection.
Lepage, along with his creative team Ex Machina, has a diverse and expansive body of work that includes original contributions to theater, opera, film, stagecraft, circus performance and public art. In his most recent work, Lepage transformed Wagner’s Ring cycle with an adventurous and technically sophisticated set. Its centerpiece is a monumental platform for digital projections and scenic effects dubbed “The Machine,” whose planks rise, fall, ripple or splay around a central axis to create dramatic simulations of Wagner’s imaginary cosmos.
“The survival of the art of theater depends on its capacity to reinvent itself by embracing new tools and new languages," Lepage says. "In a way, innovators in both arts and sciences walk on parallel paths: they have to keep their minds constantly open to new possibilities ... I am thus deeply honored to be recognized by MIT, an institution committed to facing the challenges of our era and imagining a better future.”
During Lepage’s residency at MIT, he will be honored at a public ceremony on April 26, which will include a discussion of his work with Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera.
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