The Delacorte Theater may have gone vacant once the all-star Seagull ended its run, but that doesn't mean there isn't be any Shakespeare in Central Park this fall — sort of. New York Classical Theatre is currently staging Alfred Jarry's 19th-century absurdist work, King Ubu (Ubu Roi), at the Great Hill in Central Park, through Oct. 7.
Performances began Sept. 6 for the show, described by the company as Macbeth meets The Simpsons. the play parodies Macbeth, centering on a gluttonous man determined to do whatever it takes to conquer Poland. Its premiere in Paris in 1896 was met with a riot.
Alas, New York has undergone a far more horrific type of chaos in the past two weeks, leading the producers of King Ubu to vow that all proceeds collected during the entire run will go to the American Red Cross' disaster relief efforts. (Since performances are given free of charge; a hat is passed at the end of the evening to collect donations, generally for the company but now for the Red Cross)
Translated and adapted by Lori Culwell, the play is directed by Stephen Burdman. Burdman previously directed Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream in Central Park.
The 12-person ensembles features Laura Desmond, Rhonda Dodd, Kurt Elftman, Cosmo Fattizzo, Enzo Gentile, Julia Klein, Walker Lewis, Dan McCabe, Carolina McNeely, Rio Puertollano and Dan Renkin. The production is designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. No tickets or reservations are required for the free production, which was originally supposed to end Sept. 30 but has now extended to Oct. 7, according to production spokesperson Terrence Womble. Enter the park at 106th Street and Central Park West. For more information, call (212) 252 4531 or email NewYorkClassical@aol.com.
— By Diane Snyder and David Lefkowitz