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The Ubu Plays

de Alfred Jarry

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
512535,238 (3.82)17
'A re-issue of three plays that ushered in the great age of absurdist theatre. There was a riot at the first performance of Ubu Roi on 10 December 1896, when Firmin Gemier, playing Ubu, strode to the footlights and roared- Merde! at the audience, and theatre would never be the same again. Ubu became a force to be reckoned with in literature, art and politics. Jarry wrote more exploits for him and took to acting the role of Ubu himself in his own brief, strange life. This volume contains lively modern translations by Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor of Ubu Roi, Ubu Cocu and Ubu Enchaine as well as Jarry''s writings on theatre. ''The Ubu explosion sent shrapnel flying into the next century. Dada, Surrealism, Pataphysics, Theatre of Cruelty, the Absurd - all owe a debt to Jarry.'' (Charles Marowitz, Encore)'… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
La desesperación puede empujar a los hombres hacia dos posturas encontradas: una, la seria, elegida por los políticos y phinancieros, los tontos importantes y los cabos; otra, la de Jarry, que da cuenta de éstos a través de su otro yo: el Padre Ubú. ¿Cuántos Padres Ubú nos han gobernado mostrándonos su insondable saco y sus tenazas de descerebración? ¿Cuántos no han practicado en nosotros la torsión de nariz, la arrancadura de los cabellos, la introducción de palitroques en las onejas, la extracción del cerebro por los talones, la laceración del trasero y la supresión parcial o total de la médula espinal? Lamentablemente, el Padre Ubú, ángel del terror y la extravagancia, no supera las cotas de imaginación en la pesadilla y en la caricatura de muchos gobernantes del pasado y de la mayoría de los del presente. Esta es la verdad. Y Jarry no tuvo más que mirar a su alrededor, a ese mundo de opereta en el que, sin embargo, los inconformistas desaparecían sin dejar rastro en el anónimo saco de la muerte. La sátira en el teatro fue su venganza. ( )
  Eucalafio | Oct 9, 2020 |
These puppet plays were so damn funny that I still pull out the book every once in a while to torture my friends and family. Of course, I have to perform them. Perhaps my little girl will also join in the fun in a few years. Very dark humor, of course, but I don't think it would be much of a stretch to have them made by an Anime company in Japan. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
"Merdre!" (in translation: "Pschitt!")The very first word uttered by Pa Ubu proved to be a bit too much for the sensibility of its audience and led to a riot. The incident has since then become one of the most talked about bits of Jarry's life.

The audience may not have taken their time to get to know Pa Ubu before passing their judgement, their reaction to him was rather appropriate. Pa Ubu is monstrous and grotesque. A crappy character - literally and metaphorically. His physical form is one horrible amalgamation. His conscience lies cramped in a suitcase, covered in cobwebs (and is later shoved headfirst into a toilet). From Wikipedia:
The central character is notorious for his infantile engagement with his world. Ubu inhabits a domain of greedy self-gratification. Jarry's metaphor for the modern man, he is an antihero—fat, ugly, vulgar, gluttonous, grandiose, dishonest, stupid, jejune, voracious, cruel, cowardly and evil....Pa Ubu is a caricature that not only embodies all kinds of human vices, but follows them to the extreme - to the point of being utterly ridiculous. Jarry intended for him to be the perfect anarchist and Pa Ubu plays that role perfectly well. If Ignatius J. Reilly was too disgusting for your appetite, you may want to stay miles away from Pa Ubu.

The character of Pa Ubu was born in the minds of a few 15 year olds ridiculing one of their teachers. While Jarry's friends left their teenage jokes behind, Jarry went on to transform this character into one of the forerunners of absurd/surrealist theater. In addition, Jarry's creativity with language has also contributed a few new expletives to the French language. Pa Ubu from a drawing by Alfred Jarry:


While Pa Ubu enjoys more popularity, Ma Ubu is just as depraved. She often instigates Pa Ubu into acts of greed and mindless violence. Emerging every now and then to take potshots at Pa Ubu, her character does leave a mark.

The first play, Ubu Roi demonstrates greed and absolute abuse of authority at the hands of Pa Ubu. In the third play, Ubu Enchained, science of pataphysics comes into play and spins the concepts of freedom and slavery on their heads. The plays are absurd and can easily be waved off as juvenile farce. To understand what Jarry meant to showcase through these, it helps to read around the plays a little bit. The plays certainly are good for multiple laughs.

(3.5 stars.)

Bonus link

Ubuweb - a place for all things avant-garde and obscure.

( )
1 vote HearTheWindSing | Mar 31, 2013 |
UBU ROI

In a Wikipedia article about Julio Cortázar, I read that when he moved to France he "came under the influence of the works of Alfred Jarry and the Comte de Lautréamont." Thinking that any literary friend of Cortázar is probably a friend of mine, I bought a cheap copy of Jarry's Ubu plays at the used bookstore, thinking that I'd read through them over the course of the summer. Before opening the book and beginning the Ubu cycle, I also returned to Wikipedia to read up on Jarry. He was quite the interesting fellow. Apparently he was less than five feet tall, and when he joined the army, he was excluded from parades and marching drills because he looked so damn silly in his uniform: they didn't have anything small enough for men of such reduced stature. He also loved bicycles and drinking alcohol, especially absinthe; I enjoy the idea of a tiny, drunk, bizarre man pedaling through the streets of Paris in the final decade of the 19th century. In the Wikipedia article, you can also read about the explosive reaction to the one and only performance of Ubu Roi that took place during his lifetime, and the effect that said performance had on Jarry:

"On opening night (December 10, 1896), with traditionalists and the avant-garde in the audience, King Ubu (played by Firmin Gémier) stepped forward and intoned the opening word, 'Merdre!' ('Shittr!'). A quarter of an hour of pandemonium ensued: outraged cries, booing, and whistling by the offended parties, countered by cheers and applause by the more forward-thinking contingent. Such interruptions continued through the evening. At the time, only the dress rehearsal and opening night performance were held, and the play was not revived until after Jarry's death.

The play brought fame to the 23-year-old Jarry, and he immersed himself in the fiction he had created. Gémier had modeled his portrayal of Ubu on Jarry's own staccato, nasal vocal delivery, which emphasized each syllable (even the silent ones). From then on, Jarry would always speak in this style. He adopted Ubu's ridiculous and pedantic figures of speech; for example, he referred to himself using the royal we and called the wind 'that which blows' and the bicycle he rode everywhere 'that which rolls'."

After reading about Jarry, and reading the introductory material provided in my edition of "Tout Ubu," I was excited to begin the play. The title character is based on one of Jarry's teachers, who was fat, ugly and pretty much the ideal person for a group of kids to torment. He was originally christened Père Heb in a play called Les Polonais, which Jarry and some friends performed with marionettes at one of his classmates' home. As an adult, Jarry returned to the character, expanding the story and changing the man's name to Père Ubu. The story of Ubu's absurd adventures takes place in Poland, where he is a military man who serves king Venceslas. He decides to assasinate the king and usurp his throne, which he does quite easily; he then makes all kinds of ridiculous decrees, slaughters nobles and professionals, alters Poland's tax structure in ways that are extremely beneficial to himself, and the whole time spouts obscenities and other bizarre proclamations, eventually leading his country to war with foreign armies displeased by the instability caused by his reign. Père Ubu and a pair of his more loyal followers are eventually driven into a cave, where a bear threatens threatens their lives as

Père Ubu was a great character, all ridiculous energy and absurd outbursts, bumbling along and doing everything that convention would require him absolutely not to do. His most common refrains (Merdre! De par ma chandelle verte! Cornegidouille!) were always amusing and just the right mix between obscene and nonsensical. Every step of the way, he just kept doing the most outrageous, absurd, cowardly and vile things. He reminded me of a friend of mine who, when we used to get drunk in high school, would always insist on smashing beer bottles, throwing them off balconies, onto streets and sidewalks, at parked cars, wherever a bottle could be thrown, he'd throw it. We got so frustrated, because we knew it was absurd; moreover, we knew he knew it was absurd, stupid and incredibly irresponsible, yet he still did it every time. Looking back at it, though, my teenage frustrations at a friend who drinks a few beers and repeatedly does something ridiculous are replaced by laughter. This friend is a smart and complex guy, and his behavior is often strangely compelling. Someday I'll have to ask him what was going through his mind as he threw glass bottles. Maybe I'd be surprised by his side of the bottle-chucking story. Whatever the reason, if I could go back and watch him throw those bottles, or if I could watch another kid like him throw bottles as his appalled friends look on, it would amuse me to no end. And that's the amusement I found in Père Ubu, and what I imagine I would find in a bellicose, absinthe-drunken Alfred Jarry riding around on his bicycle. It pleases me to think that Jarry immersed himself in the character of Ubu, and that he might have brought to life those idiosyncrasies he so effectively sketched out in his play, because I feel that I've already seen a fleeting representation of Père Ubu.

I look forward to reading the next two installments in the Ubu series, and hope that these plays, along with the supplementary information provided in my edition of Tout Ubu, will help me better understand the context in which they were created. One thing that struck me as I read was, as bizarre and off-the-wall as Père Ubu seemed in 2011, I can hardly imagine what it would have been like to attend that opening night performance in 1896. Based on the anecdote above, I imagine the reaction of a portion of the opening night audience to have been similar to my reaction to my friend's strange and destructive behavior. And as I think of that audience, split between laughter and rage, the combination in turn provokes my own laughter, laughter that accompanied me through most of the play. ( )
  msjohns615 | May 31, 2011 |
These plays should be read by anyone interested in absurdism, French art or European theatre. They tell of the rise and fall of a pointlessly cruel monarch and the aftermath of his destruction.
2 vote sholt2001 | Jun 30, 2010 |
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Saillet, MauriceEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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'A re-issue of three plays that ushered in the great age of absurdist theatre. There was a riot at the first performance of Ubu Roi on 10 December 1896, when Firmin Gemier, playing Ubu, strode to the footlights and roared- Merde! at the audience, and theatre would never be the same again. Ubu became a force to be reckoned with in literature, art and politics. Jarry wrote more exploits for him and took to acting the role of Ubu himself in his own brief, strange life. This volume contains lively modern translations by Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor of Ubu Roi, Ubu Cocu and Ubu Enchaine as well as Jarry''s writings on theatre. ''The Ubu explosion sent shrapnel flying into the next century. Dada, Surrealism, Pataphysics, Theatre of Cruelty, the Absurd - all owe a debt to Jarry.'' (Charles Marowitz, Encore)'

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