Contemporary Candian Film and Literature (Fall, 1999; 2001)
Le Confessional Lepage on Lepage Relevant Links No (the film)

The Seven Streams of River Ota

  by Robert Lepage

Plot Summary and Characters Issues and Questions for discussion

Main Issues

Part I: Part II: Part III: Part IV:   Development of the Mme. Butterfly Motif: Part V: setting--world expo
  The use of other "international" elements:
mixture of languages and places (e.g. Maurice on pp, 55-56),
Noh play; Dutch Red-Light District; Zen;
Prague in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park(106); Puppet show (Part VI);
the meeting of characters in Part VII (p. 141), and the garden (p. 139)
-- Are they properly or meaningfully used?
Part VI Part VII  

  Plot Summary and Characters
Jana Capek: a Jewish artist who has experienced the concentration camp.

Seven Parts and their characters:


Special Thanks to ¦¿¨¬º¡ for the summary she did of the play;
on which the following summary is based.
Luke (-  around 1965)

? + Sarah Weber (-1943)
-- Jeffrey 1 (-1985)
-- Jeffrey 2 (-before 1997)
Walter + Patricia 
Lepage on Pierre (who appears in The Dragon Trilogy, The Seven Streams and The Confessional) from [Charest pp. 33-]:
-- his "alter ego";
-- Pierre's mother is called Francise Roberge before she married a Lamontagne;
-- "Pierre Lamontagne's name revealed both the littleness of the character and the vast scope of his ambitions."
-- "the entire Trilogy, the entire history that precedes im, becomes Pierre Lamontagne's inheritance."
-- "The movement in The Confessionalis in the opposite direction: Pierre investigates his family's past by seeking to make sense of his father's death and his brother's disappearance."
-- "In The Seven Streams of the River Ota, he finds himself in Japan and it's through him that the audience can make a connection with Japan and Japanese culture."
" He's all-purpose because he is relatively young and an artist, which allows us to place him almost anywhere, in almost any circumstances.  He's very flexible, very mobile character-- a blank character, in a way."

A few inconsistencies:
e.g. In Seven Streams - came to Japan in 1995 to study calligraphy
In The Confessional, he came back from China in 1989.
Moving Pictures
Luke O'Connor--American soldier from Houston
Nozomi--a Hibakusha (victim of atomic bombs)
time: 1945-46; place: Hiroshima
--the meeting of Luke and Nozomi; Luke in his attempt to take pictures of the house to show damages done by the atomic bombs.
-- p. 7 "Please, I thought you took pictures of physical damages."
Two Jeffreys
Jeffrey 1-- Luke's first son
Jeffrey 2-- Luke's son with Nozomi, a Jazz musician
Ada -- Dutch; student of music and in love with Jeffrey 1.
Karen -- the landlady
time: 1965; place: New York
-- the meeting of Jeffrey 1 and Jeffrey 2 in Karen's house, with noise from upstairs.
the past: 
-- Jeffrey 2's  birth (P2, scene 3 & 8)
-- Nozomi's death (P2, scene 12)
--Luke's anti-Americanism and leukemia (pp. 25; 30)
A Wedding
Jeffrey 1; Jeffrey 2; Ada; 
Hanako -- a translator and Jeffrey 2's wife (their son David, already 14)
Susan -- 
time: 1985; place: Amsterdam
-- Jeffrey 1 wants to marry Ada in order to have mercy killing (which is allowed in Holland). 
-- Ada remembering young Jeffrey 1.
-- Jeffrey 2 comes to meet his brother to accompany him in his mercy killing.
The Mirror
Ada (mentioning Jeffrey 2; Hanako)
older Jana

younger Jana 
Sarah Weber (played by Ada); a singer, Ada's mother
Maurice, a magician

time/place: 1986/Hiroshima; 1943/Terezin
-- Jana becomes a famous artist and has an exhibition in Tokyo; Ada invites her to Hiroshima [Ada is here with Jeffrey 2 after Jeffrey 1's death]
-- 1943: Jana and Sarah's friendship in a concentration camp; Maurice's magic show;
"Are all the people who have disappeared hiding behind mirrors?" p. 49
-- Sarah shows the kimono for Butterfly; tells the story of Butterfly and cries.  [Does she identify with Butterfly?]
--Sarah's death. 
-- Jana and Maurice's escape
-- ending: Sarah = Nozome - Butterfly
Sophie-- an actress; her Quebecois consciousness p. 89
Walter -- Canadian diplomat in Osaka
Patricia -- Walter's wife
time: 1970; place: Osaka -- photo booth and translator's booth
-- play within the play -- Feydeau's The Lady of Maxim (pp. 64-69); Sophie's affairs with Francois-Xavier and Walter, too? (p. 96)
-- phone booth -- 1. Sophie and Hanako p. 59-; 2. Sophie and Hanako p. 96- 
-- photo booth -- 1. Walter and Patricia 60; 2. Hanako and Jeffrey 2 p. 77; 3. Francois-Xavier; 4. Sophie and Hanako p. 99--who is the father of Sophie's child?
-- translator's booth -- translator appears on stage pp. 78-92; 96-99; translator's mistake p. 99
An Interview
time: 1995;  place: Hiroshima
-- puppet show ('Loyang Beauty,' play within the play, told by Jana): a Chinese story set in Song Dynasty; the invention of gunpowder
--the interview of Jana by Patricia--about how Jana chooses Hiroshima p. 106; 
-- Walter and Patricia, with puppets, about the possibility of going to China; 
-- Walter with Loyang beauty puppet; [suggesting Walter and Patricia's divorce]
-- Walter witnessing 1997 Hong Kong
David: son of Hanako and Jeffrey 2
Pierre: son of Sophie and Walter(?)
Walter; Hanako;
time: 1997;  place: Hiroshima
-- Walter takes Pierre to Hanako as a boarder
-- the mentioning of Jeffrey 2's death p. 124
-- dream 1: Nozomi in kimono; 2. Nozomi and Luke, and then Pierre
-- David back; 
-- Hanako's 60-yr-old party p. 131
-- David and Pierre in the same room; 
-- Hanako describing the garden; Pierre imitating Hanako
-- the meeting of Walter, Ada, Pierre, David, Sophie and Hanako.  David and Pierre talk about their family; Sophie and Hanako about Pierre's father (Walter).
-- Kimono dance: Pierre's dance with Hanako as the subject; 
Hanako holds kimono for -- Pierre 
Old Jana  holds kimono for -- Sarah
Luke -- Nozomi
Hanako -- Pierre
-- the ending (spreading of Jeffrey 2's ashes); the beginning (Luke and his camera)