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Ubu: in brief
Daniel Irizarry directs himself in the title role of Adam Szymkowicz's wild comedy about the grotesquerie of power, adapted from Alfred Jarry's protoabsurdist 1896 classic.
Ubu: theater review by Helen Shaw
Theater nerds, beware. If you tiptoe up the stairs at INTAR, your copy of Alfred Jarry’s 1896 Ubu Roi clutched dutifully in hand, prepare to have it slapped away. A new king is in town, one unrepentantly distant from Jarry’s absurdist original. Obeying its inspiration’s spirit (if not its letter), Adam Szymkowicz’s Ubu shocks and delights by the expedient method of sitting on you and bouncing up and down till you surrender to it in gasping, helpless glee.
Szymkowicz mugs Jarry’s grotesque, scatological monarch, robbing him of context and queen and leaving behind just the ur-character himself: an infantile, filthy-minded vehicle for director-star Daniel Irizarry. The giant bouffon-king—reimagined as a CEO—spits and flirts and flings himself into spasms; the actor’s gonzo energy whips up an entire weather system, a true magnetic storm. Sweating, screaming at his beglittered clown-courtiers and commanding the spotlight (the fellow in the tech booth yelps apologetically), Irizarry’s Ubu is play in its original sense. He eats life; he eats props (the poo he devoured out of the giant baby’s diaper made him yak a little); he utterly, voraciously consumes us. Irizarry’s eager-to-please fools frolic around their fearless leader, but it’s the audience that winds up dancing attendance.—Theater review by Helen Shaw
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