Recently, many of the AU community, including myself, walked into the American University Greenberg Theater looking for a night of entertainment when going to see the play Ubu Rex and walked out feeling a little shocked and somewhat confused.
The play opens with a scene on a child’s playground with the sky painted in the background. Ma and Pa Ubu show up after a few moments of flatulence and some inappropriate clothing. Feeling a little confused, as much of the audience was, I could not see where the show was going. As it continued the foul language and ill-clad ladies and gentleman came along with it. The story was of a couple and their friend plotting to kill the current king and his family to gain the fortune he had earned through royalty. That plot line came along with many a laugh and of course a little chaos, but after hearing what the director had to say everything became clear.
The goal of this show was to give insight to the idea that adults do act like children, hence the play being based in a playground. The director, professor Cara Gabriel, also mentioned that she wanted to shock her audience, because it is almost impossible to be shocked in the theater nowadays due to the fact that everyone is so clean cut and afraid of taking the risk. There are many political references in the play, ones that even relate to American University such as a “No More Wonk” sign, that bring a true seriousness to the themes of the play instead of just plain silliness.
Even though one may have been puzzled during the performance, once you realize just exactly what the themes are, everything seemed to make sense and fall into place. I give applause to the impeccable acting and the risk the entire cast took being in this play to do something they thought would make a statement—you definitely made your point!