January 17, 2010 -- Ubu Rex had a great weekend at the Steamer No 10 Theater January 8, 9 and 10. Thanks to all who came and joined in the fun. I'm finally getting around to putting some pictures up. Here's an article from the Albany Times Union and a review from Metroland Magazine.
In the cave: Ubu (Ed), the Bear (Meave), Buttocksmoustache (Monica), and Bar-Snister (Paul).
Ed with Ubu.
Steven Patterson, our Ubu.
Mother Ubu and Lapbone.
Here is Meave with Mother Ubu, Stage Manager Abby, Ubu, Ed, and Raphael with a Plodin.
"Let us make use of this situation to simulate a supernatural apparition."
Mahem and Carnage as the Czar goes down.
McTurdy's travelling scene (Monica).
Here are my poor shoeless puppets, ready for another go. Lapbone, McTurdy, Queen Rosamonde, Bar-Snister, Wenceslas/Czar/ShipCaptain, Buttocksmoustache, Prince Buggerlass.
This shot shows the three sizes of puppets. Meave with Mother Ubu, Ed with Ubu, a couple of plodins and Monica with McTurdy.
Rehearsing, it's the same scene as above, but the puppets aren't finished, showing some of the works. The readers can be seen in the back.
A tender scene between Buggerlass and Rosamond (Paul and Cathy).
Pa Ubu at the court of Wenceslas.
Paul with Queen Rosamonde and Buttocksmoustache, Ed with Ubu, and director Oakley Hall.
Rehearsing in the living room with unfinished puppets. Cathy, Ed and Paul.
Ed, Paul, Monica, and Abby
Paul wonders about modelling the Plodin Bar-Snister on a hammerhead shark.
Readers GG Roberts, Steven Patterson, Charlie Braverman, director Oakley Hall.
Readers G.C. Haymes and Joe Kraussman
Mike Eck, Paul Jossman, Monica Miller, Joe Kraussman, Oakley Hall III, Ed Atkeson, Steven Patterson, Meave Tooher, Greg Haymes, GG Roberts, Dan Wilcox, Charlie Braverman, Raphael Mishler, Newell Eaton. In front: Abby Fullem, Cathy Frank. Missing from the picture: MJ Leach, Roxanne Storms, Tim Cahill, Ric Chesser.
Here is Ric Chesser's blurb for the play. I took it from the Steamer No. 10 Theatre webpage:
Firlefanz Puppets presents Ubu Rex January 8, 9 at 8 pm; January 10 at 3 pm • Springing from the art community that surrounded the (now-defunct) Firlefanz Gallery, Firlefanz Puppets is a talented troupe of more than two dozen puppeteers, artists, actors, designers and musicians led by puppetmaster Ed Atkeson. They last visited us with a fantastic production of Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros", a classic of absurdist theatre. Now they will be bringing Oakley Hall III's adaptation Alfred Jarry's 1896 harbinger of absurdist theater, a biting satire of European philosophies and practices, to our stage. Jarry's plays are credited with a great number of literary innovations and are seen as major influences of the dada and symbolist movements in art. Ubu Rex eliminates the dramatic action from its Shakespearean antecedents and uses scatological humor and farce to present Jarry’s views on art, literature, politics, the ruling classes, and current events. Come see how much things have changed.
December 10, 2009: In the late 70s I became aware of Alfred Jarry and the Ubu plays through the band Pere Ubu, and Bill Griffith's Zippy comics, and hearing about them from friends. The plays were great, and big. I wanted to read them with friends but they were huge and I couldn't see where I could cut anything.
Cathy and I were running a restaurant then, "Cathy's Waffle Store" on Lark St. in Albany NY, and actors from Cap Rep would sometimes show up in the afternoon. One day I got to talking to one of these guys and I mentioned Jarry and the Ubu plays. As I remember it, he got kind of quiet and said that he used to work with someone who made adaptations of all the Ubu plays, translating from the French, and they used to play them morning, noon, and night. I asked if he had any of the scripts and he said that he would drop one by, but he didn't, and I didn't follow up on it.
20 years later, 2004, I went to a showing of a documentary film called "The Loss of Nameless Things" at the Spectrum Theater in Albany. It was a New York Writer's Institute event and the film maker was there, and William Kennedy, and the guest of honor, the subject of the film, Oakley Hall III was there too, along with a bunch of Capital Repertory Theater actors.
After the movie there was a reception, and Cathy talked me into going. It was there that I met Oakley. We hit it off because I knew something about Jarry and Ubu and he loved to talk about the Ubu plays. I realized that he was the guy who wrote the adaptations that the actor talked about. I made a deal to get them from him because by this time I had started doing theater with puppets and when he got back to California, he sent me three hand typed scripts.
Here's the blurb from the documentary film:
"In 1978, Oakley Hall III, the brilliant and charismatic founder of the Lexington Conservatory Theater, had it all. Together, his merry band transformed the run-down Catskills camp where they worked and lived into their creative paradise. THE LOSS OF NAMELESS THINGS is the harrowing tale of Hall's fall from grace, a bittersweet look at what was recaptured and a heartbreaking reminder of what was lost forever."
While Oakley was in Albany at the showing of the movie he met an old friend, Hadiya Wilborn, who had been an intern at the Lexington Conservatory Theater. Oakley made the trip back to Albany to visit her. At that time, Hadiya was puppeteering in Ionesco's "Rhinoceros" with Firlefanz Puppets and he came to see the show. Oakley and I joked about doing a project together, but when Oakley moved from California to Albany, that became a real possibility. Now we've got "Ubu Rex" in rehearsal with Oakley directing.
Oakley decided on Ubu Rex, we talked to Ric at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre, alerted the troupe, talked to composer and Jarry aficionado MJ Leach about the music, and I started making puppets with January 8th bearing down, rehearsals were commenced.
We are privileged have Steven Patterson, one of the original Lexington Conservatory Theater actors, voicing Pa Ubu along with the Firlefanz Puppet actors and puppeteers listed above.
Here is a high res version of the Ubu Rex poster.