Cutting Ball Extends UBU ROI Through 3/9
Cutting Ball Theater announces that it will add an additional eight performances of its current hit production of Alfred Jarry's UBU ROI in a new translation by Rob Melrose. Russian director Yury Urnov (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) helms this irreverent take on world leaders, featuring David Sinaiko, Ponder Goddard, Marilet Martinez, Bill Boynton, Nathaniel Justiniano, and Andrew Quick. UBU ROI plays now through March 9 (added performances: Thursday, Feb 27, 7:30pm; Friday, Feb 28, 8pm; Saturday, March 1, 8pm; Sunday, March 2, 5pm; Thursday, March 6, 7:30pm; Friday, March 7, 8pm; Saturday, March 8, 8pm; Sunday, March 9, 5pm) at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-50) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 415-525-1205.
As a result of the extension of UBU ROI, the first two weeks of staged readings for Cutting Ball's RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival will be held at the Tides Theater (533 Sutter Street, 2nd Floor). RISK IS THIS... is one of the only play festivals in America solely dedicated to experimental works for the stage. This year's festival (February 28 through March 29) features five new works in staged readings, including two new plays from Cutting Ball resident playwright Andrew Saito.
About UBU ROI, Jean Schiffman of the San Francisco Examiner declared, "[Ubu Roi is a] highly entertaining work with comically anachronistic touches, and a theme of ruthless acquisition that can resonate with modern audiences. This re-envisioned quasi-classic is a wonderful addition to Cutting Ball's repertoire." Adam Brinklow from Edge SF noted " 'Ubu Roi' proves that experimental theater need not be completely incomprehensible, and that even the incomprehensible parts don't have to forgo being effective drama," and Woodrow Currie at SF Station said of the production "what makes this show stand out most of all is the way it flouts more traditional, realist conceptions of theater as actors imitating life for the audience of pure spectators... Keeping much in the intention of [playwright Alfred] Jarry's original, this play makes us question what is possible or even allowed in modern theater. Asking questions of theater's role that are as pertinent now as when the show premiered more than a century ago."
When Alfred Jarry's UBU ROI premiered in Paris on December 10, 1896, the audience broke into a riot at the utterance of its first word. Jarry's parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth defies theatrical tradition through its disregard for audience expectations, replacing Shakespeare's tragic hero with a greedy, sadistic ogre who becomes the King of Poland by force and through the debasement of his people. Set in a modern luxury kitchen, this re-visioned UBU ROI features a wealthy American couple who play out their fantasies of wealth and power to excess as they take on the roles of Mother and Father Ubu. Cutting Ball's version of UBU ROI may bring to mind the fall from grace of many a contemporary political leader corrupted by power, from Eliot Spitzer to Dominique Strauss-Kahn. UBU ROI was developed as part of the 2013 edition of RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival.
"For me, UBU ROI is the reflection of Friedrich Nietzsche's Übermensch, an 'Over-man' or 'Super-man,' in Alfred Jarry's false mirror," said director Yury Urnov. "If it's true that Nietzsche was one of the founding-fathers of the fascist aesthetic, then Jarry's play can be perceived as the first anti-fascist work of art in which the author reveals the conflict between superhuman ambitions and the part of himself which is 'human, all too human.' I think of Alfred Jarry as the first realist, not just the first absurdist; I look forward to exploring his work in this context, and sharing this insightful and exciting new translation of his seminal play with the Cutting Ball's audience."
"In many ways UBU ROI is the beginning of avant garde theater," said Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose. "It had its premiere at the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre in Paris in 1896 and the utterance of the first word 'Merdre' caused riots rivaled only by premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. For many years, productions tried to capture the shock of the first production - a very tall order that many would argue is impossible in today's world of South Park, performance art, and YouTube videos. UBU ROI has become a favorite of innovative auteur directors; the impossible epic, cartoon-like nature of the play makes it a delightful challenge for visionary directors. We are fortunate to have Yury Urnov, who grew up and trained in Russia, at the helm of Cutting Ball's production; his directing career includes many breathtakingly bold adaptations of classic works."