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Malaise dans la civilisation

Alix Drufresne + Étienne Lepage

A Philosophical Vivarium

Some tourists show up at a theatre with no regard for decorum. By turns fearful or amused, clownish or careless, the four stooges explore, play, and test both themselves and the audience through a series of mundane, minor accidents. The absurdity sometimes becomes thought-provoking when they awkwardly ask philosophical questions. This small sample of humanity, linked together by improbable situations, gradually transforms the empty space of the stage into a universe filled with possibilities.

Through the sharp wit of their dramaturgy, the shrewd creative partnership of Alix Dufresne and Étienne Lepage shakes up both social and theatrical conventions, experimenting with the porous border between the stage and the house. Strange and playful, Malaise dans la civilisation allows us to observe complex, fascinating beings who innocently venture to the limits of morality. It’s touching—and disturbing.

General info

About the artists

© Maxime Côté

Alix Drufresne (Montreal)

The creation of Malaise dans la civilisation was initiated by playwright Étienne Lepage, who wanted to combine his universe with that of theatre director Alix Dufresne. Organically sharing writing and directing duties, the long-time associates have co-authored a work together for the first time. 

Full biography
© Lucie Desrochers

Étienne Lepage (Montreal)

Étienne Lepage’s multiple works performed in North America and Europe notably include Rouge gueule (2009), for which he was a finalist for the Prix Michel Tremblay, and L’enclos de l’éléphant (FTA, 2011), which won the Prix du texte original from the AQCT.

Full biography

Media Coverage

“This is not your grandmother’s theatre; the audience are not left passive in the dark, nor ignored by the performers. […] Lepage’s text is amusing, sharp tongued, absurd and fiercely relevant.”



James Andrews, Pocket size theatre (Royaume-Uni), 2017-08-10, about Ainsi parlait


“I want to draw on the concept of philosophy in my plays, but with a clumsy, comical aspect that leads to even more confusion. To show individuals who question themselves out loud, in a manner that’s philosophical but absurd.”

Read the interview