What’s an Ubu?

A good country runs like a ship, with its leader as benevolent captain, its army as the disciplined crew, and its civilians as blissful guests cruising on the high seas of wealth and indulgence, while the stowaways rot in the under current. But, when ignorance is no longer bliss, when power reaches beyond its means, and light begins to shine on cryptic shadows, when is mutiny called for? “Ubu Rex,” by Alfred Jarry, tackles this riptide of humanity’s finest and most rotten characters as they indulge in the greedy, gluttonous, benevolent, violent, infantile, glamorous, and absurd circumstances of life in the shadows. Following the characters of Captain Ubu and his wife, Ma Ubu, audiences watch as this farcical twosome Judy-and-Punch their way to the top of the Royal Cruise Line through lies, treachery, murder, and puppets.

Harking back to Jarry’s original puppet productions of 1896, OnTheHouse Theater takes a closer look at shadow puppetry’s bewitching ability to blurt out the absurdity of our age, while set in the most  concentrated venue for human indulgence and interaction: a cruise ship. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “MacBeth,” this maritime tragicomedy reflects our modern obsessions with celebrity, social media, and cash money through the outrageous aspirations of Pa Ubu to gallantly become Captain Ubu, leader of the RedEagle Cruise, devourer of restraint, saint for indulgence, and servant to himself.  But first thing’s first, how to murder Captain Wenceslas…

Extravagantly characterizing the cradle of greed, impotence , superficiality, and capitalism, Captain and Ma Ubu set sail for the open seas and shed light on the exquisite ingredients for rebellion, control, and guilty pleasures through Captain Ubu’s short-lived mutiny.


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