Et Cetera Theatre,
premiere 22 December 2001, Main stage
reviewed version premiere: 20 December 2005
Set design &
145 min., with intermission
Alexander Kalyagin, Olga Belova, Petr Smidovich, Nikolay Molochkov, Andrey Kondakov, Alexander Zhogol, h. a. Sergey Plotnikov, Angela Belyanskaya, h. a. Maria Skosyreva, Nataliya Zhitkova, Marina Churakova, Grigoriy Starostin, Kiril Shterbina, Fedor Bavtrikov, etc.
* The musical pieces are from the repertory of "Tiger Lillies" and arranged by Anatoly Serebrennikov.
In the history of modern French - and not only French - theatre Alfred Jarry's dramaturgical series about Ubu Roi is certainly among the works that conceive and further realise the new tendencies in performing arts on the verge of the approaching XX-th century. The idea about Ubu Roi originated from a school joke by a high-school teenager - "a character too extravagant and completely unaffected by the influence of its peers". The teenage boys would write all sorts of parodical and heroic poems regarding their teacher in physics. Many argue that in its final form the character of Francois Ubu still bears the scars of juvenile irresponsibility and certain immaturity. In 1896 the play was first staged at Théâtre de l'Œuvre in Paris - a theatre known for its affiliation towards symbolism. Due to his poetry attempts and some friendships among symbolism circles Jarry was also appointed as artistic secretary of the theatre and was generally well accepted there. Unlike his play. With its vulgar and corrupted language, moreover bearing a certain ridicule towards symbolism itself, the text was in obvious conflict with the elusive game of sense and with the vague visions usually found on this stage. It's life on the repertory was short. Jarry would not live to see another of his plays staged elsewhere but in a puppet theatre. It is true, though, that Jarry took some interest in the uncanny expressions of a puppet in connection with problems of general aesthetics.
Jarry himself supported the idea about the abstract theatre - a theatre beyond what's temporary or transient, - and reached for bigger-scale problems. Time and place in Jarry's dramaturgy are indistinct, characters have no biographies and seem to simply jump out of the blue. Ubu is often understood as an impersonation of all eternal human weaknesses revealed in their grotesque, far-reaching absurdity. Those traits are so dense that they become schematic. Ubu is cold and repulsive. He does not bear any spiritual qualities, that is, he is hardly even human. What was once human about him has degraded to blind animal instincts. He is moved by endless egoism in a strive for satifying his avarice where cynism is his weapon. In the old school farce tradition Jarry has given us the perfect example of social commentary.
Accidental power, corrupting power, scathing power - a tragic reality skillfully staged as a cheerful buffoonery.
The production is awarded the prize "Gvozd sezona" [Best production in the theatre season], 2002
"Golden Mask" Theatre Awards 2003 - Best leading male role, Alexander Kalyagin