Ubu. It's the name of a lunatic king, a TV dog and an avant-garde rock group. It's also the name of an Off-Broadway theatre company now in its 16th year. Taken from Alfred Jarry's satire, Ubu Roi, Ubu Repertory devotes itself to French contemporary plays in translation, as well as modern French classics. The fall season began in October with a play by Albert Camus that now returns for a limited engagement, Feb. 3-22.
The Misunderstanding/Le Malentendu will be performed in English (translation by Stuart Gilbert) and French, with both versions directed by Ubu Rep artistic director, Francoise Kourilsky.
The Misunderstanding tells of a son who returns unrecognized, after years abroad, to an inn run by his mother and sister. He has no desire to be recognized by them, and worse, they're planning on killing a guest for his money. Will it be him?
Camus penned the play in 1943, 14 years before winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. His other works include the plays Caligula and The Just and the novel, The Stranger.
Starring in The Misunderstanding are international actress Myriam Cyr, Jacqueline Bertrand, Lee Godart, Michel Moinot and Tatiana Abbey. Designing the show are Watoku Ueno (set), Greg MacPherson (lighting) and Carol Ann Pelletier (costumes). Genji Ito provides the underscoring.
Ubu Rep's founder and artistic director Kourilsky won the French Legion of Honor medal for her work at Ubu, La MaMa and in France. Recent Ubu stagings include Always Together and Another Story.
According to spokesperson Kendra Moyer, Ubu began in 1982 at a Mercer Street space, then came to its current home in 1989.
For tickets ($15-$25) and information on The Misunderstanding/Le Malentendu at Ubu Rep, 15 West 28th St., call (212) 679-7562. The French version opens Feb. 4; the English version opens Feb. 11.
-- By David Lefkowitz