Monday, January 15, 2007

The Polish Play

The Polish Play, a mash-up of Macbeth (the Scottish play) and Ubu Roi, is a fun theatrical jaunt. The second half drags a little as the inspired fusions peter out, but it picks up again with Pere Ubu's climactic, shiter-hook wielding showdown. Jarry's Ubu Roi was already modeled on Macbeth, so the conflation of both isn't a stretch, but what it does is make Macbeth into a comedy. One murderous scene is set to saloon music and features puppet bodies with human heads channeling the Stooges. Some technical kinks at this early preview performance, but Jordan Gelber (of Avenue Q) and his "green syphilitic penis" push bravely through. There's a lot being mocked in this production, from the set design (unwieldy pieces being moved around like Tetris pieces) to gender reversal and bad accents. I particularly like the openness of the show: the Foley Artist (sound-effects guy) is as much a part of the show as the actors, and all the props, costumes, and even scene-changing instructions are posted on the walls. Granted, Henry Wishcamper probably could've done as much by simply reviving Ubu Roi, but there's something mesmerizing about an obese Macbeth fleeing an enraged Macduff, and the laughs justify the means.

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