Since the early 1980s, Denis Marleau has been creating remarkable works for the stage and presenting them in Montreal and overseas. Exploring the historical European avant-garde, the classical repertoire and plays by contemporary playwrights, his stage presentations stand out for a playful yet rigorous style and for his formal, sensitive approach to directing. A creator of “technological phantasmagoria”, his artistic vision is inspired by the visual arts, literature and contemporary music.
Born in Quebec, Denis Marleau has been pursuing his theatre practice for the past forty years, with staging renowned for inventiveness, formal rigour and an integrated multidisciplinary approach. After training as an actor at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique in Montreal, in the 1970s he studied in Paris where he discovered art theatre. Upon his return to Montreal, he created his first collage production at the Musée d’art contemporain, Cœur à gaz & autres textes DADA (1981). ). His subsequent works were created under the aegis of his company UBU: Picasso-Théâtre (1985), Merz Opéra (1987), Oulipo Show (1988), Cantate grise (1990), Les Ubs (1991) and Luna-Park 1913 (1992). He then turned to contemporary writing, exploring the worlds of Koltès (Roberto Zucco, 1993), Bernhard (Maîtres anciens, 1995), Tabucchi (Les trois derniers jours de Fernando Pessoa, 1997), Fosse (Quelqu’un va venir, 2002), Pliya, (Nous étions assis sur le rivage du monde, 2005) and Loher (Le Dernier feu, 2013). He also staged several works by the Quebec writer Normand Chaurette,
His “technological phantasmagoria” version of Maeterlinck’s Les Aveugles (2002) was hailed on three continents. Together with his artistic collaborator Stéphanie Jasmin, Denis Marleau then embarked on in-depth research on integrating new sound and image technologies, using video projection in the service of the characters. That theatrical research was apparent in the exhibit La planète mode de Jean-Paul Gaultier – de la rue aux étoiles (2011), a multimedia creation where animated mannequins move and talk, brought to life by video.
In 2015, Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin directed L’autre hiver, a phantasmagoric opera by Dominique Pauwels with a libretto by Normand Chaurette, which has been commissioned by Mons 2015.