‘Ubu Rex’ pokes fun at modern American politics

Tamica Jean-Charles/Contributing Writer
“Ubu Rex” is what you would least expect a play to be. A play that parodizes modern American politics, within the setting of 1800’s France, is showcased in a cesspool of fart jokes and crude humor.
The FIU Theater will feature “Ubu Rex” as their first play for the 2017-2018 season. Michael Yawney, associate professor in the FIU Theater department, will be its director.
The play was originally written by Alfred Jarry in 1888. Jarry tells the story of a grotesque and gassy king, Pe Ubu, and the foul acts he commits. Harry wrote the play as a young teen; he was inspired by his former physics teacher, Monsieur Hebert, in creating King Ubu. The physics teacher was known for being incredibly bombastic. The term ‘Ubu’ is the slang version of Hebert while ‘Rex’ is another term used for king.
While drawing sketches for what Jarry wanted Ubu to look like, each sketch featured a spiral on his belly.
“He always puts a spiral on the belly. Pa Ubu lives by his belly; it’s all about how much he wants to consume, how greedy he is, how much he wants to just take it to himself. The belly to him is the most important thing,” said Yawney.
“[King Ubu] has absolutely no regard for the truth, he lies through his teeth, he’s gross and greedy,” said Yawney.
The people behind Ubu Rex have designed the set to look elegant and classy. The crew has set the stage to emulate a Victorian-style ball room, with a marble floor and towering pillars. But don’t expect the set to remain posh all night; the cast plans on completely destroying the set for each show.
“We’re experimenting to see how much damage we can do to it and still get it together for the next day,” said Yawney.
The inspiration behind the poster for Ubu Rex comes from how Jarry depicts Ubu in the play. In the written play, Jarry showcases Ubu with a large spiral centered on his stomach. Abu is also known for mentioning his green snot throughout the play, which the graphic designers made sure to include. Ubu Rex may be unfamiliar to those unaffiliated with theatre, but the comedic play is also new for many of the cast members.
“[Captain Sexton] is so different from who I am personally,” said Erynn Chapman, senior studying theater performance. “Playing Captain Sexton has opened up a lot of new possibilities for me to play and explore.”
FIU senior studying theatre performance, Patricia Contreras, is also a cast member.
“It’s been a really crazy journey. [Ma Ubu] changes completely from the beginning to the end of the play,” she said. “It’s been really difficult exploring the physicality and her voice. But it’s changed me in a way that has made me bolder and it’s great. I love it.”
“If you like things that are polite and refined and elegant, this is not it,” said Yawney.
The play was originally set to premiere Sept. 22, but due to Hurricane Irma, the play has been pushed back to Oct. 6.

Be the first to comment on "‘Ubu Rex’ pokes fun at modern American politics"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.