Alfred Jarry, translated by Kenneth McLeish
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The satirical farce acclaimed as the touchstone for the Dada and Surrealist movements, the Theatre of the Absurd, and much of the rest of experimental theatre in the twentieth century.

Production Info

Cast: 8 total (4 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes
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About the Author


  • Alfred Jarry

    Alfred Jarry, known primarily for his Ubu plays, began writing in 1888 at the age of fifteen with two fellow pupils at the Rennes lycee. Their project, a comic satire of their physics teacher, Monsieur Hebert, was little more than a childish prank. Eventually, however, this "piece alquemique" would become the world's first absurdist drama. The first and most famous of Alfred Jarry's Ubu plays is UBU ROI or UBU REX. This strange parody of Shakespeare's MACBETH let loose upon the world the grotesque figure of Pa Ubu, a foul old man set on conquering Poland by any means necessary — and a personification of all that is base and stupid in mankind. The play premiered at the Theatre de L'OEuvre on December 10, 1896 to mixed results from an angry and violent crowd. Some audience members were outraged. Others were intrigued. But no one had ever seen anything like this before. The next day, the debate raged on in the papers and the cafes. In 1898, UBU ROI was performed again at the Theatre de Pantins — this time with marionettes. Around the time of this second performance, Jarry completed the second play in his Ubu trilogy — UBU CUCKOLDED. The first play, however, had generated such a heated reaction that he failed to find a publisher. The third play of the cycle, UBU ENCHAINED, was completed in September of 1899. Neither UBU CUCKOLDED nor UBU ENCHAINED was performed during the playwright's lifetime. Alfred Jarry's career was brought to an unfortunate and early end when he died in 1907 at the age of 34, but his legacy lives on in the works of such playwrights as Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett. Jarry was the first prophet of the Theatre of the Absurd. Today, his plays are considered an integral step in the evolution of the modern theatre.

  • Kenneth McLeish

    Kenneth McLeish (1940 – 1997) studied Classics and Music at Worcester College, Oxford. After starting as a schoolteacher, he became a full-time translator, author, and dramatist, and in time the most widely respected and prolific translator of drama in Britain. His output included all 47 of the surviving classical Greek plays, most of Ibsen and Feydeau, as well as individual plays by Plautus, Molière, Jarry, Strindberg, Horvath, and Labiche. His original plays and translations have been widely performed, most notably by England's National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher Nick Hern Books
Publication Date 9/1/1997
Pages 96
ISBN 9781854591890

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Ubu is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC