© Josée Lambert

Les maîtres anciens

Denis Marleau

Denis Marleau, the master sculptor of word and space, tackles Thomas Bernhard, one of the great monuments of contemporary literature. An ingenious and accursed author! In Les Maîtres anciens, a novel sub-titled “comedy”, Thomas Bernhard excels in the art of driving home all his points at once. Reger, the central character in the story, sits in the Borbone gallery of the Old Masters Museum, as he has done every second morning for the last thirty years, gazing at Man with a White Beard by Tintoretto.


We are privy to what he has already said and repeated about everything, each influxuation, each detail, thanks to the staggering precision of Atzbacher, his staunch friend and spokesperson. Reger’s sole creed in life is to exaggerate so as to stir something up in his country. A country so stupid, mean and hypocritical as to cause even a mouse to roar: a country that is strangely familiar. The prospect of a terribly lucid and playful theatrical journey, a relay race that repeatedly hovers on the abyss and the trapdoor of Ubuesque theatre.


Created by
Théâtre Ubu

Adapted and directed by
Denis Marleau

Based on the novel by
Thomas Bernhard

Co-produced with
Festival de théâtre des Amériques
Centre national des arts