UBU SINGS UBU
TONY TORN / DAN SAFER / JULIE ATLAS MUZ
“Ubu Sings Ubu” was a merging of Alfred Jarry’s classic comic french play “Ubu Roi” with the songs of cult band Pere Ubu. Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz played Pa and Ma Ubu, backed by a live band (Vera Beren, Emmitt Joe George, Matt Butterfield and Patrick Conlon) who also played supporting roles. Torn adapted the original text using Google Translate. He co-directed the play with Dan Safer, who also choreographed and wore a bear suit in order to wrestle Pa Ubu to death at every performance. Katie Ingram and Sarah Ramen played dancing “Ubettes” while Stephen Boyer and Kelvin Daly alternated as bartenders. Video design was by Kaz PS, set and costumes by Deb O, lights by Jay Ryan and live sound mixing by Freddie Katz.
The piece for me was all about alchemy. The play has often been dismissed as a historical curiosity and the band as simply a commercial nonentity with a small cult following. By combining these two forces in a very collaborative working environment, we created something with a great deal of vitality. We brought a sense of danger to the New York theater scene that has been somewhat missing since the days of Reza Abdoh and Ethyl Eichelberger. I also believe “Ubu Sings Ubu” is the only time that “Ubu Roi” has ever worked as a love story.