Alfred Jarry’s absurd comic play Ubu Roi is rather provocative because it breaks all the drama norms while acquiring the features of a parody.
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It is possible to assume that the play’s main message is dependent on the fact that the play is the parody of William Shakespeare’s works, and the playwright intends to discuss the issues of power, rule, and tyranny while replacing Shakespeare’s tragic characters and events with satirically depicted greedy heroes and controversial situations.
The adaptation of the play demonstrated in the USF College of Education is characterized by the appropriate atmosphere to emphasize the idea of the play’s absurdity. The changes in the intensity of light and specific sound effects contribute to accentuating the key moments of the play and changes of scenes.
Thus, referring to the technical characteristics, the scenic design is appropriate to present the revised version of Ubu Roi where settings play the role of ‘barricades’ and platforms for battles. Lighting effects add to accentuating the play’s theme because the light follows the characters properly, and the main character is in the focus of the light during the whole play.
Although the play’s events refer to the previous centuries, the costumes are modern and rather elegant to accentuate the absurd character of the play’s events and theme. However, although the music was chosen carefully, the quality of sound was not good enough to represent all the ensemble voices appropriately. While focusing on acting, it is important to note that actors were good to represent all the complicated and controversial moments of the play.
Discussing the actors’ work in detail, it is necessary to note that all the characters created the ensemble because the actors performed very naturally while supporting each other’s actions and reactions. Moreover, the actors played with their voices to affect believability and with their movements to contribute to the play’s absurdity.
That is why the actors played perfectly to avoid underplaying or overplaying. Furthermore, the most vivid scenes and outstanding performances in the play are associated with the parts where the actors sing to accentuate their feelings, as it is in the part when Andrew sings to demonstrate his strong affection.
To concentrate on the directorial work, it is necessary to note that the stage seemed to be comfortably balanced. Thus, all the aspects of the production can be discussed as communicating the same concept to represent the idea of absurdity in relation to the complex theme of power and rule.
Moreover, in spite of the fact that this adaptation of the play can be considered as a rather controversial interpretation of the absurd work, this intended complication adds to the discussion of the theme, and the director demonstrates his unique interpretation of the script effectively, avoiding the unnecessary details.
That is why it is possible to state that the director’s ‘modernized’ vision of the play is correlated with the playwright’s concept. As a result, the most confusing moments associated with the production are the problems with the sound.
This adaptation of Ubu Roi is a good interpretation of the play in spite of the fact that it is not discussed as the professional one. However, all the actors played like famous professionals and concentrated on the full representation of the director’s vision of the play with references to the modern context.