MHC Students Present Outdoor Comedy

Posted: April 15, 2008

MHC's PROJECT Theatre will present Alfred Jarry's notorious play, Ubu Roi, at 8 pm, April 18-20, in the Gettell Amphitheater. Translated from the French, this irreverent satire has been modernized and adapted for the amphitheater stage by director Kylie McCormick '08, dramaturg Jane Arden '11, and stage managers Brie Bingham '10 and Sarah Merhar '10.

Imagined by schoolboys as the legend behind a particularly smarmy teacher, Ubu Roi follows the life of an ignorant, dumpy, diabolical man. Père Ubu, or Papa Turd, is persuaded by his shrewish wife to kill the king of Poland and usurp the throne. He becomes a violent and incompetent dictator who kills his subjects, destroys the economy, and makes war arbitrarily.

When it was first staged in an experimental French theatre the audience was so incensed by the first word, 'shit', that a riot broke out and spectators barraged the actors with croissants. The volley of hurtled bread and insults continued for at least ten minutes and resumed several times during the performance. The play, which had its humble beginnings as a puppet show, was banned from being performed by actors. "Jarry's audacity crossed the last barrier of decorum in theatre," McCormick said. "His humor was too much for 1896."

Ubu Roi's mockery of manners, royalty, and theatre itself has seen a revival in the past several decades. McCormick first read the play in class and decided to put it up as an ensemble piece, with only nine cast members filling several roles each.

Ubu Roi, which is supported by the French department, is free and open to the public. In the case of rain, a substitute performance will be held Monday, April 21, at 8 pm in Blanchard Great Room. To reserve tickets, please email with your name, the number of tickets, and the date you would like to attend. It is recommended to bring a blanket.

Warning: This play contains violence, lewd sexual commentary, orgies, phalli, offensive language, ridiculous scenarios, and creepy music.

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