Ubu buur

from the irreducible Ubu of Alfred Jarry

Teatro Storchi, Modena

18/10/2007 21:00  

text and direction Marco Martinelli
created by Marco Martinelli, Ermanna Montanari, Mandiaye N’Diaye
and with Mandiaye N’Diaye (Padre Ubu), Ermanna Montanari (Madre Ubu),
Roberto Magnani (Bordure), Danilo Maniscalco (Re di Polonia)
and with Boubacar Diaw, Moussa Gning, Mamadou Kaire, Mame Mor Diop, Aliou N’Diaye, Cheikh N'Diaye, Mamadou N’Diaye, M’Baye Babacar N’Diaye, Mor Ndiaye, Mouhamadou N’Diaye, Ndiaga N'Diaye (coro dei Palotini-ribelli), Janet Ngadiuba (Regina Rosmunda), Kingsley Ngadiuba (Zar di Russia), Amadou Sow (Burgelao)
set decoration Ermanna Montanari
costumes Ermanna Montanari, Roberto Magnani
lights design Francesco Catacchio
sound Enrico Isola
stage technicians Luca Fagioli, Danilo Maniscalco, Massimiliano Rassu
production Ravenna Teatro, Festival des Francophonies en Limousin, Comune di Ravenna-Assessorato alle Politiche Giovanili, Provincia di Ravenna
with the collaboration of Teatro Festiva Italia (Napoli), VIE Scena Contemporanea Festival (Modena)
thanks to A.N.G.E.L.O., Garden Center Il Gelso, Merceria La Beneficenza, Valérie Monnier, Plasticose, Post Post, Sartoria Pasini Zoli, Sporty

RUNNING TIME 1hr 30mins without entr'act



What struck us years ago when we did a first reading of UBU REX, was the way Jarry savages Theatre as Museum. Jarry starts from an adolescent idea – a drama played out by a class of students in late nineteenth century Brittany who give their teacher a public pillorying, making him “King of the World” and at the same time a symbol of all kinds of stupidity, horror and injustice. Jarry transmutes the stage like an alchemist: rounded, nineteenth century characters are stripped of all psychology, turned into stock stereotypes, marionettes, demented icons in a theatre that returns to its ancient roots, comic and sacred roots. Just like Aristophanes, who the young avant-garde dramatist took as his model. To destroy the museum, a place haunted by the dead and their ghosts, what Jarry does is not so much to stage a play but stage life itself, placing the audience in front of its own grotesque caricature. This UBU BUUR seeks to retrace the process to its beginnings, revealing its original essential power-points, reconstructing the world of volcanic adolescence generated by the original theatrical score, producing those comic and bloody masks. It is in this staging of life, in this Museum Historiae Ubuniversalis, that the tragi-comic ambiguity and tension of theatre takes shape. Is it the adolescents, the “Palotins” as Jarry calls them, who pull the strings of the powerful, or is it the marionettes of Père and Mère Ubu and of the traitor Bordure that move the palotins, with their desires and obsessions? Who is the puppet and who the puppeteer?
Since ’98 we have been touring the world with I POLACCHI (THE POLES), a show in which the actors breathing life into the ubuesque masks are a chorus of Italian teenagers. In January 2007 we went into the heart of Senegal, to Diol Kadd, to reinvent it all. Diol Kadd is a village where there is no electric light and you have to draw water from the well. And what happens if the chorus of palotins is a chorus of Senegalese adolescents? What happens is that Poland, the fantastical and surreal setting of the original text, Jarry’s nowhere-land (which is also an everywhere-land) is coloured in our Museum with brush-strokes from Africa. Here Père Ubu with his voracious greed resembles one of the many tin-pot dictators who have irrigated that continent with human blood. Mère Ubu, meanwhile, is at his side like a western wife, unreal in her whiteness, a ghost inhabited by a thousand different voices, while Bordure becomes a two-bit official whose tongue hangs out like a dog’s. What happens is that Père Ubu’s wolof is multiplied a hundred fold by the wolof of his palotins, and Mère Ubu’s dialect reveals Celtic influences in striking assonance with the French of the child-soldiers, proud and desperate, whose captain, by killing the King of Poland, becomes in turn “buur”, or King. What happens is that the ancient fables of the night spirits, told by the light of the fire, create a short circuit with images from the global village, where in huts below the equator, besieged by the desert, you find traces of western commerce, Europe’s football icons. What happens in the end is that Alfred Jarry reveals the ubuniversal vitality of his masks, recounting the idiocies of power and the dreams of anarchy shared by adolescents at whatever latitude of the world we find them.

Marco Martinelli

The show

Vie Scena Contemporanea Festival is an Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione project, www.emiliaromagnateatro.com