Cal State University Long Beach alumnus and playwright Jeremy Aluma will bring theatrical anarchy to The Beach and shatter the fourth wall with his absurdist comedy, “Ubu the Sh*t.”
Ubu will be directed by Aluma and will feature an all CSULB undergraduate cast. Aluma is the director of Four Clowns, a Los Angeles production company that specializes in the art of clowning. He invited Four Clown members to train the cast in comedy acting for the play because of their experience with interactive productions.
Aluma said he is excited about producing the play in the round, meaning the audience will encircle the stage. He said it will give the play a “gladiator effect,” and the participation of the audience will mirror the participation of audiences during gladiator matches.
“’Ubu the Sh*t’ is vulgar, violent, sexy and all things a college audience loves,” Aluma said.
This play is a modern retelling of French playwright Alfred Jarry’s Macbeth adaptation called Ubu Roi. “In 1896, the stage met with its first true anti-protagonist,” Aluma said in regards to Ubu Roi. “He is everything that is foul in the world, in a pure sense—devoid of any redeeming characteristic or capacity. He is not diluted with Lago’s cunning or Macbeth’s guilt.”
Much like the original Ubu play, Aluma’s play is a social commentary aimed to shock viewers. “Everyone wants to buy more, eat better and sh*t more pleasantly,” Aluma said in a press release. Casting for the play began in May, and the show has been in rehearsal for the past seven weeks. When selecting cast members, Aluma said he wanted actors that were confident with improvisation because some of the production revolves around the interaction with audience members. “Comedy is subjective in that what I find funny, others may not,” Aluma said. “I want actors that are universally funny and are comfortable with improvisation.”
Aluma first created the script in 2007 to perform at the Complex Theatres in Hollywood, where it won awards such as Backstage Critic’s pick. Since then, the playwright has continued to update and rework jokes in the script to keep it fresh and shocking. Aluma said he has worked some actors’ dance and acrobatic abilities into the script too. “Theater isn’t only staunchy, archaic mortality,” Aluma said. “It can be a relevant modern piece of work that goes for audiences’ sensibilities.”
- Amy Patton