Playing Cards: HEARTS

Direction Robert Lepage

  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé
  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé
  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé
  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé
  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé
  • © Érick Labbé
    (c) Érick Labbé

Please pay attention to the new duration of the piece (4,5 instead of 2,5 hours).

Canadian director Robert Lepage was a guest last year at the Ruhrtriennale with SPADES, the first part of his tetralogy on the world of card games. The second part, HEARTS, deals with the shift from a past world dominated by magic, illusion, and belief to a modern world where materialism and science take the dominant role. The story focuses on the French automaton-maker and the father of modern magic. Due to his training in precision engineering, Houdin was able to build ›magical‹ devices that he could use to thrill the Paris audience. Dressed in elegant everyday clothing, he set himself apart from the fairground appearance of his colleagues, showing optical illusions that made use of the technology of his time and above all used intricate mechanics.

We accompany the magician to Algeria, where he was sent by the French government to undermine the authority of the local clerics. From there, we move on to today’s Québec, and here we encounter the figure of a refugee from northern Africa, like an echo from the past. HEARTS is a fantastic journey from France and colonial Algeria of the late 19th century through Europe of the 1960s to Canada of the 21st century, a journey in which different fates cross and that culminates in a decisive encounter.

Direction —
Dramaturgy —
Peder Bjurman
Stage —
Michel Gauthier und Jean Hazel
Light —
Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun
Original music and sounddesign —
Jean-Sébastien Côté
Costumes —
Sébastien Dionne
Properties —
Virginie Leclerc
Imagedesign —
David Leclerc
Actors —
Louis Fortier, Nuria Garcia, Reda Guerinik, Ben Grant, Catherine Hughes, Marcello Magni, Olivier Normand
Authors —
Louis Fortier, Reda Guerinik, Ben Grant, Catherine Hughes, Kathryn Hunter, Robert Lepage, Marcello Magni, Olivier Normand


— 29. September 2013
Further dates
— 2. 3. 4. 5. October
— ca. 4 h 30 min, 2 Pausen
— 29. September 2. 3. 4. 5. October: 18.45
World Premiere
In several languages with German subtitles
— 20 / 30 / 40 / 55 €
Reduced prices start at 10,00 €

An Vorstellungstagen ist die Videoinstallation Silence, Exile, Deceit von Douglas Gordon in der Mischanlage bis 20.00 Uhr geöffnet.

Project supporter

With the friendly support of the representation of the Government Québec and the Embassy of Canada.

  • Wed 2Oct
    Playing Cards: HEARTS on 2. October 2013 at 7.30 PM
  • Thu 3Oct
    Playing Cards: HEARTS on 3. October 2013 at 7.30 PM
  • Fri 4Oct
    Playing Cards: HEARTS on 4. October 2013 at 7.30 PM
  • Sat 5Oct
    Playing Cards: HEARTS on 5. October 2013 at 7.30 PM


Robert Lepage
29. September 2013
Museum Folkwang, Essen

Press Comments

Spieldauer viereinhalb Stunden. Stört gar nicht, wenn großes, intelligentes, 150 Jahre umspannendes Welt-Theater geboten wird. [...] Sensationell gut.

— Ruhr Nachrichten, 01.10.2013

Dass man darüber an diesem Abend so viel lachen und staunen kann, ist der große Trick. Ein Trick, wie ihn der Bühnenzauberer Lepage nach wie vor wie kein Zweiter beherrscht. (über Playing Cards: SPADES, 2012)

— Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.09.2012

An Ex Machina prodcution, comissioned by 360 ° Network coproduced by Ruhrtriennale and La Comète – Scène nationale de Châlons-en-Champagne, Cirque Jules Verne & Maison de la Culture – Scène nationale d'Amiens, Østre Gasværk Teater –Copenhague , Roundhouse – Londres, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Mitglieder des 360 ° Network – international group of round artistic venues.) Held in cooperation with Stiftung Zollverein. Ex Machina supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Quebec's Arts and Literature Council and the city of Quebec. Associate Production – Europa, Japan: Epidemic (Richard Castelli). Producer Ex Machina: Michel Bernatchez.