See also: Ubu (homonymy)
Ubu king is a play of Alfred Jarry pertaining to the cycle of Ubu published the April 25th 1896 in the book of Art (re-examined Paul Fort) and represented for the first time the December 10th 1896. It is about the first part of the cycle of Ubu .
This part is regarded as precursor of the surrealist movement and the Theater of the absurd. Jarry mingles with it provocation, absurdity, joke, parody and humor fatty.
Although the Ubu Father is content with sound CV, “ captain of dragons, officer of confidence of king Venceslas, decorated about the Red Eagle with Poland, and former king of Aragon ”, the Ubu Mother tries to convince it to conspire to reverse king Venceslas, which would allow him, inter alia advantages, “ to extremely often eat andouille ” and “ to get an umbrella ”. Inviting to its table the captain Borders well (“ Eh, captain, did you dine well? - Extremely well, Sir, except the merdre. - Eh! The merdre was not bad. ”) it rejoins it with its cause while promising to him to do it duke of Lithuania. Called by the king, he believes being discovered (“ Oh! I have an idea: I will say that it is the Mother Ubu and Bordure… ”) but makes Venceslas of it appoints it count de Sandomir in reward of its many services , which besides does not change anything with its projects. The action plan is stopped and each one swears “ to kill the king well”.
Despized Venceslas of the warnings of his family and accompanies the Ubu Father with a review where Bordure and its partisans assassinate it. If two sons of the king, Boleslas and Ladislas, are killed by the putschists, the last, Bougrelas, flees with the queen who dies shortly after. Encouraged by the spectrum of its ancestors (allusion to Hamlet!), Bougrelas swears to be avenged. On his side, the Ubu Father, after being itself made request, grants his generosities to the people (“ That hardly amused me to give you money, but you know, it is the Ubu Mother who wanted. At least, promise to me to pay the taxes well. ”) and is made some acclaim.
Neglecting the councils of prudence of the Ubu Mother, the Ubu Father decides not to name the captain Bordure duke of Lithuania. After which, it launches out in a vast policy of reforms which consists in massacring (“ Those which will be condemned to death, I will pass them in the trap door, they will fall into the basements from the Grip-Pig and from Room-with-Under, where they will be décervèlera ”) all the noble ones (of which the goods are confiscated), all the magistrates (who will not be any more paid but will live fines and goods of condemned to dead) then all the financial ones which refuses the new taxation (“ Initially I want to keep for me half of the taxes ”, which are upset: “ Sirs, we will establish a tax of 10% on the property, another on the trade and industry and a third on the marriages and a fourth on the deaths, of 15 Francs each one ”; although the Ubu Father is usually introduced as a caricature of the middle-class, one must recognize that this program - a capital tax, the VAT and of the inheritancees tax death is typically socialist. The Ubu Father reassures the Ubu Mother frightened by this hecatomb which disorganizes the State: “ anything, my soft child, I do not fear myself will collect the taxes from village in village. ” It has a very precise political program besides: “ With this system, I will quickly have made fortune, then I will kill everyone and I from will go away. ” Indeed, escorted “ Skinflints ” and of “ salopins of finance ” trailing the “ cab with phynances ”, the Ubu Father in person will hold to ransom the peasants (whose chief is called Stanislas Leczinski) and will massacre those which resist. The revolt bursts at once. Then it makes throw in prison the Bordure captain who escape and court in Moscow to propose to the czar Alexis to invade Poland and to restore Bougrelas. When the news arrives at Warsaw, the Ubu Mother and all the advisers oblige the Ubu Father to leave in war, assembled on her “ horse with phynances ”. The Ubu Mother receives regency.
The Ubu Mother tries to seize the treasure of kings de Pologne but is driven out by a revolt carried out by Bougrelas. During this time, the Ubu Father was inserted in Ukraine with the Polish army. He learns the revolt from Warsaw and the Russians arrive. The Ubu Father fights a battle as burlesque as epic where it is beaten with punts seams. Refugee in a cave of Lithuania with two of his last palotins , it must dispute it with a bear. Its unworthy behavior leads his/her companions to give up it during his sleep.
The Ubu Mother arrives in the cave during the sleep (agitated) of the Father Ubu change of act without change of place and in perfect continuity of the action is rather curious and tries to be made pass for an appearance so that he forgives him his flyings, but in vain. The day rises, revealing trickery and causing a domestic fight which is stopped only by the arrival of Bougrelas. Father and Ubu Mother, making common front, defend themselves with eagerness and are saved by the unexpected return of both palotins of Ubu with reinforcements. Crossing Livonie, Father and Ubu Mother embark for France where the Ubu Father plans to be made “ name Maître Finances in Paris. ”
The gallery of the characters comprises some characteristics: many characters of the part appear only for one short moment, some are real historical characters Russian or Polish, units are regarded as only one character ( All the Russian Army and All the Polish Army ) and an object, the Machine with Décerveler, is credited as being a character.
- Mother Ubu
- Captain Edge
- the King Venceslas
- the Queen Rosemonde
- Boleslas, Ladislas, Bougrelas: their sons
- the General Lascy
- Stanislas Leczinski
- Jean Sobieski
- Nicolas Rensky
- the Emperor Alexis
- Bosom, Pile, Cotice: Palotins
- Entreated and Soldiers
- Michel Fédérovitch
- Financial Advisers
- Flunkeies of Country Phynances
- All the Russian Army
- All the Polish Army
- Guards of the Mother Ubu
- a Captain
- the Bear
- the Horse with Phynances
- the Machine with Décerveler
- the Crew
- the Commander
The Poland evoked by Jarry is a country legendary, mythical, but at the same time it presents characters of real Poland. Here the list of the principal places:
Spain (Aragon, Castille)
- France (Paris, Mondragon)
- Denmark (Elseneur)
- the Germanic (Germany)
There is more than 24 decorations:
the Palais Royal
- the battle field
- the crypt
- Two caves
- On a ship (at the end of the part)
- the house of Ubu
- In the forest
At the time of the first, which occurs the December 10th 1896 to the Théâtre from Work to Paris, Jarry reads an introductory speech of a weak voice, in an almost inaudible way of the spectators, where he announces that the action occurs “to Poland, i.e. nowhere”. The public warms up, and of this fact reacts as of the “Merdre!” inaugural: the part makes scandal.
It should be noted that during the general one, the public, however composed of friends of Jarry, will also react: the general one occurs well, to the third act, where an actor plays a door of prison by tightening his arm, and the Ubu father makes turn a finger in his hand to unbolt the door, and the " carry prison" swivel of eighty ten degrees while squeaking…
Notes on the part
Many references to Macbeth of Shakespeare are present in the part which begins with a pun on the name from the English author: “Adonc the Father Ubu hoscha the pear, of which since was named by Anglois Shakespeare, and have of him under this beautiful name many tragœdies by escript. ”
The Ubu father employs several expressions invented by Jarry, like “From my green candle”, or the famous épenthèse “Merdre” (invented him by the high-school pupils of Rennes).
Jarry took as a starting point its professor of physics of college, Mr Hébert, who was for the pupils the incarnation even the grotesque one; it was called “the Hébert father”, and several of the jokes written by the high-school pupils reported the adventures of P.H., diminutive gentillet compared with the variations which one made of his name: Ebb, Eb, Ebon, Ebance, Ebouille, etc the students particularly enchanted affection which the teacher had for andouille. All the double semantic directions became possible.
Let us return at the origins: Charles, the elder one of the Morin brothers, will have one day written an episode tribulatoire of quite unhappy P.H. in Poland, from which he became king. From there more tardily, the title will be drawn the Poles: “ Poles. Part in five act of Misters Charles and Henri M (buoyrope), author of Bastringue, the Catch of Ismaël and good of other works on the P.H. ”.
When Jarry took note of the small booklet written earlier, it altered it in comedy to then assemble it in the attic of Morin, in December 1888 and in January 1889, then in 1890 in the apartment where it lives with his mother and her sister. The part is played by the Marionnette S of the " Theater of Phynances" ; Jarry will make then a decoration for a shadow theater where Henri Morin interprets the role of the P.H., always king of the Poles. The satire is always entitled the Poles and it is oldest, as well as nearest, version of the first part of the cycle of Ubu.
Arrived at Paris in 1891, Jarry will rent a room which it will use in workshop, bearing the shifted name of the “Martyrdom of trucidé”. With its new school-fellows and friends, it organizes various representations from where the cycle of Ubu reappears which will have undergone several final improvements to arrive at its quasi-final form. At this point in time the Hébert Father becomes the Ubu Father.
It is by gaining the contest of prose of the newspaper the Echo of illustrated literary Paris that Jarry will become acquainted with Marcel Schwob to whom it dedicates a great regard and friendship. Thanks to its incipient fame, it meets and binds with (Alfred Valette, the director of the Mercure de France, and his Rachilde wife, which live in the street of Échaudé Saint-Germain (glorifiée in the song of Décervelage). In 1894 it will produce there, for the familiar ones of the house, a version of Ubu King which rained much.
Towards the end of his life, Alfred Jarry put itself more and more to resemble his character: he started to speaking like, and signed to him all his letters of the name of Ubu.
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