Ubu Roi Launches 2007-2008 U.Va. Drama Department Season

September 18, 2007

Sept. 18, 2007 – The University of Virginia Department of Drama’s new season will start with one of the theater world’s most unforgettable characters when Alfred Jarry’s "Ubu Roi" takes the Helms Theatre stage.

"Ubu Roi," directed by Betsy Tucker, opens Sept. 27 and will play through the 29th, then again from Oct. 2-6. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Single-ticket sales are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for students and can be ordered by calling the Drama Box Office at (434) 924-3376 or by visiting the Culbreth Theatre Monday through Friday between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Full-time U.Va. students can use their Arts Dollars to purchase both individual show and season tickets.

Causing a near-riot on its opening night in 1896, "Ubu Roi" is the tale of the ultimate man who shouldn’t be king. Ubu is as ridiculous as he is brutal, a scatological scene stealer whose unchecked ambition is as blood-starved as it is misguided. And, according to Tucker, the story of his brief rise and rapid fall is full of hearty laughs and lasting lessons.

“Ubu is a monster,” Tucker said. “And there are lots of those running around these days. We should be able to see him and laugh at him but acknowledge that he is a living cartoon among us.”

"Ubu" audiences should expect the unexpected, she said. “The play is very funny. It’s wild and crazy, and it’s very audience engaging.” One of the main reasons for this is the people who will bring the story to life. “This is an extremely imaginative, exuberant and creative cast, so they have created much of the show themselves. It’s a very playful production. It appeals to the child in them enormously, and I think it appeals to the same in the audience.”

The playful creativity extends to every aspect of the show. The cast makes all its own sound effects, employing pots and pans, whistles and drums. Even the audience is asked to pitch in, as they will be asked to manipulate scenery and add its noisemaking talents to the show’s sonic storm.

In fact, "Ubu Roi’s" entire design was the result of a storm. The “design storm” featured an intense and condensed four-day creative process that resulted in all the sets, costumes and music that audiences will see on stage.

“We worked on the show for 10 days then did a run-through of it with the designer,” Tucker said. “The next night we got together for four hours to talk about the show. Then over the next two days we built the whole thing – a process that usually takes six weeks. The ‘storm’ was an experiment to see if it could be done and to determine whether it is a workable model for future productions. It went very well, and we had a good time.  They rose to the wackiness of the production.”

The 2007-2008 season will continue with "Hedda Gabler," which comes to the Helms Oct. 25-27, 30 and 31 and Nov. 1-3.

The season will also include Shakespeare’s beloved classic comedy, "Twelfth Night" (Culbreth Theatre, Nov. 29, 30; Dec. 1, 5-8); the acclaimed musical revue "Songs for a New World" (Culbreth, Feb. 14-16 & 20-23); U.Va. associate professor of drama Doug Grissom’s drama "So Careless" (Helms, March 20-22 & 25-29) and the David Mamet-adapted Harley Granville-Barker play "The Voysey Inheritance" (April 17-19 & 23-26).

All performances begin at 8p.m.

Season subscriptions are currently on sale. Full-season subscriptions are available for $73 for adulta, $63 for seniors and U.Va. faculty/ staff, and $50 for students; Culbreth-only season subscriptions are available for $38 for adults, $33 for seniors and U.Va. faculty/ staff, and $26 for students. Subscriptions may be ordered by calling (434) 924-3376 or by visiting Culbreth Theatre Monday through Friday between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets for each individual production will go on sale approximately two weeks prior to the opening date.

The new Arts Parking Garage is scheduled for completion by spring and will feature parking conveniently located next to the theatres. Until that time, construction has closed the lots flanking Culbreth Road and Culbreth Road itself. Free parking is available in the Madison Bowl lot adjacent to the Peyton House and the Madison Hall lot. Free spaces may also be found on University Way, University Avenue or McCormick Road. Parking for an hourly rate is available at the Central Grounds Garage. You may purchase a short-term parking pass for the Emmet/Ivy Garage by contacting U.Va. Parking and Transportation at (434) 924-7231. Please allow extra time to park and walk to the theatre.

For complete information on the 2007-2008 season, visit www.virginia.edu/drama.