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Theatre’s Appreciation: “Ubi Roi” by Alfred Jarry Essay

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Updated: Mar 18th, 2020

The play Ubu Roi or King Ubu was written by Alfred Jarry, can be described as a tragicomedy or even a farce. I was able to see the Cutting Ball production of this work on February 1, 2014. To a great extent, this performance is aimed at making this play more relevant to the contemporary audience.

Overall, the main theme is the absurdity of life, which is driven by power, lust, and greed that eventually lead to the complete corruption of a person. This is the main detail that the viewers should consider.

While discussing the atmosphere of this play, one should focus on several aspects. First of all, the seats were placed too close to the stage.

The main problem is that the viewers could not fully appreciate the scenery and lighting. This is one of the limitations that can be distinguished. It is possible for me to argue that the atmosphere was effectively expressed through sound effects, which enabled the audience to sense the feelings of the major characters and understand the dynamics of the narrative.

It should be mentioned that the action takes place in a modern kitchen setting. One of the details that attracted my attention is that lighting did not always follow the characters, and this mismatch could confuse the audience because viewers could not always determine which of the characters was speaking at a particular moment.

The characters were dressed in formal costumes, and in this way, the performers tried to make the play more relevant to the modern audience.

In turn, different background music helped the spectators trace the development of the plot and understand the emotions of the protagonists. Furthermore, the acting strongly appealed to me because the performers were able to portray the inner world of the main characters. These are some of the aspects that can be singled out.

Overall, the actors succeeded in creating a single ensemble, and they were able to illustrate the interactions between the main characters. The only exception was the actor who played the part of a guest invited to the dinner. This person seemed to be quite nervous, and he failed to impersonate the character properly. He did not fully fit this play. This is one of the shortcomings that should not be overlooked.

It is possible for me to say that the voices of actors and their movements enhanced the believability of the performance. These people were able to recreate the absurd world which Alfred Jarry envisioned. Certainly, one actor underplayed his part, but this limitation did not undermine the credibility of acting. This is one of the points that can be made.

In my view, there were several outstanding performances that should be discussed in greater detail. For instance, I can mention the actor who played the role of Mother Ubu. In particular, I would like to refer to the scene when she uses the toilet brush to pretend that she baptizes people. In my view, her acting was both creative and convincing.

Moreover, it is possible to speak about the actor who played the Russian Czar. In particular, one can mention his fishing at the seashore. His facial expression and language immediately indicated that this person had played the role of a Russian czar. This person managed to parody this authority figure. This is why his performance should not be overlooked.

It is also necessary to evaluate the directing of Yury Urnov. First of all, it is possible to mention that the stage was not comfortably balanced. The spectators were sitting around the stage, and they could not always see the faces of actors. Nonetheless, it is possible for me to say that this adaption of the play reflected and even enhanced the main ideas that the author tried to express. The setting and acting made this comedy even more entertaining.

I can say that Yury Urnov properly interpreted the script of the original play. Despite some modifications of the plot, the viewers can see how and why Ubu becomes corrupted by power. Furthermore, this adaptation reflects how playwright parodies various plays of William Shakespeare. Moreover, the director can show that this play remains relevant nowadays.

In my opinion, Yury Urnov reflected the message that the author tried to convey. In particular, he demonstrated how an individual could become relentless because of his/her political inspirations and ambitions. Moreover, the director showed that a personal quest for power could turn into violence and cruelty.

Furthermore, this performance retains the humor of the play. Nevertheless, there are some details that seemed to be quite confusing. For instance, I can mention the actress who was holding a carrot and shaking it. I could not understand the meaning of this symbol.

In my opinion, this production of Ubu Roi is a good example of how a nineteenth-century play can be translated into the language of a post-modern theatre. I would like to speak about the performance of David Sinaiko, who skillfully shows how the main character loses his sanity during the quest for power.

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IvyPanda. "Theatre's Appreciation: "Ubi Roi" by Alfred Jarry." March 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/theatres-appreciation-ubi-roi-by-alfred-jarry/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Theatre's Appreciation: "Ubi Roi" by Alfred Jarry." March 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/theatres-appreciation-ubi-roi-by-alfred-jarry/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Theatre's Appreciation: "Ubi Roi" by Alfred Jarry'. 18 March.

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