© Josée Lambert

Merz Opéra et Oulipo Show

Denis Marleau

Like sparkling jewels riding horseback on madness and laughter, Merz-Opéra and Oulipo Show slug away at the absurd. Seeing them one after the other is like a headlong plunge into a faultless double bill of verbal frenzy and acoustic poetry.


A collage of literary fragments by Kurt Schwitters, Merz-Opéra twists a curious logic out of nonsense. Fragments of stories, dialogue and poems jostle and collide. Characters flirt with the grotesque, seduce and ultimately embrace it. Merz-Opéra is the family album of this happy marriage. Oulipo Show, Stylistic exercises of Raymond Queneau “à l’Oulipo”, the unusual and insoluble of a story in 99 different versions yet always the same. A young man boards a bus, berates an old man and sits down. Two hours later, at the St-Lazare station, a friend tells him he’s missing a button. That’s all there is to the plot. The real interest lies in how it is handled. Rigour is found in lunacy—as well as in the mastery of the actors, utterly at home in the clear waters of an organized game.


Théâtre Ubu. Merz-Opéra; written by Kurt Schwitters, directed by Denis Marleau. Oulipo Show; written by Ouvroir de Litérature Potentielle; Italo Calvino, Harré Mathews, Raymond Queneau; directed by Denis Marleau