UBU SINGS UBU to Run 4/9-27 at Abrons Arts Center
Actor/director Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz star in Ubu Sings Ubu, an immersive theatrical mash up of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi and the songs of experimental cult band Pere Ubu. Adapted from a version of the original French text, and run through the Google Translate engine, Torn and company are fueled by the giddy, angular new wave rock of Pere Ubu, the cult band whose name and style were inspired by the play. Torn, who co-directs with Dan Safer of Witness Relocation, plays Pere Ubu while Muz is Mere Ubu, in a bizarre parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth, set in Poland instead of Scotland.
"I first fell in love with the band Pere Ubu in high school, when my brother Jon brought the song 'The Modern Dance' over to our friend Daniel Pinchbeck's house and we threw it on the turntable," says Torn. "The music led me to the insanely scatological play Ubu Roi, and from thence into a career in experimental theater. I first thought of doing a production like this over thirty years ago. And now it's time to put up or shut up."
Torn's adaptation process is as irreverent as Jarry's text. "Jarry's script is a scatological school boy prank," Torn explains. "He wrote the play to make fun of his high school physics teacher. The stupidity of Google Translate matches the intentional stupidity of the play... which is super exciting to me."
Ubu Sings Ubu, features Tony Torn (Jay Scheib's The Disinherited, Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway); Julie Atlas Muz (Whitney Biennial artist and Miss Exotic World!); and features Ubu Sings Ubu Band, a live Pere Ubu cover band, led by music director Vera Beren (Gothic Chamber Blues Ensemble) on keys/theremin/oscillator, with Matt Butterfield (600 Highwaymen's THE RECORD) on guitar, Emmitt Joe George (the Strap-Ons) on bass, and Patrick "Paddymyke" Conlon (Agents of Karma, G.C.B.E, Work of Art and The Natural Mystics) on drums and is adapted and co-directed by Tony Torn (Door Wide Open, Reverend Billy and The Church Of Stop Shopping); co-directed and choreographed by Dan Safer (Witness Relocation); produced by Presence Productions; video by Kaz Phillips Safer, sets and costumes by Deb O, and lights by Jay Ryan.
Photo Credit: Kaz Phillips Safer