Paula Vogel’s Presidents’ Day Playwriting Challenge: Set Ubu Roi in the White House

Industry News   Paula Vogel’s Presidents’ Day Playwriting Challenge: Set Ubu Roi in the White House
Registration is now open for the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s national workshop.
Paula Vogel Marc J. Franklin

Paula Vogel is challenging playwrights and students across the country to set Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry’s 1896 political drama, in the White House. Vogel’s Bake-Off workshop invites writers to submit an original five-minute work to be performed on stages in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities across the country.

Considered revolutionary at the time for its satirization of power and greed, Ubu Roi is about a king awash in murder, genocide, and the revolt of his own people.

Drawing on real-life political events, Vogel’s additional stipulations are: the character of King Ubu “must be diagnosed as being in ‘excellent health’”; and he must have insulted a number of ambassadors during his tenure. Writers are also encouraged to employ “strange use of the English language.”

The short works can be a play, a poem, a song, a skit, stand-up, or a mini opera. Applicants must register to enter by 7 PM February 17.

The National Ubu Roi Bake-Off will be on February 19 and will take place at various theatres and colleges, including Off-Broadway’s Vineyard and New Ohio Theatres, as well as Fordham, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, Cornell and Emerson universities.

“It is my hope that across the U.S. and around the world, artists, theatres and collectives will be writing in response to Alfred Jarry’s text and performing it live on Presidents’ Day in response to our global crisis,” Vogel said in a statement, adding, “There are no critiques. Bake-Offs are to theatre what sketching is to oil paintings.”

Vogel’s signature Bake-Off workshops have been staged in theatres, schools, prisons, and within other communities around the world.

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