Ubu’s Dreams is a shadow puppet show featuring Père Ubu and surreal characters from his unconscious. This play was created by Mark Petrakis and Fabrice Florin, with Edward Janne, Dan Cantrell, Phyllis Florin, Jean Bolte and our friends at Pataphysical Studios.
We premiered Ubu’s Dreams at the Canessa Gallery in North Beach, San Francisco on November 3, 5 and 12, 2016. Watch the video here. The show was part of the ‘Pataphysics of Dada exhibit for the Dada World Faire hosted by City Lights Books.
What’s it about?
Ubu’s Dreams stars Père Ubu, the protagonist of Alfred Jarry’s plays at the turn of the 19th century. This shadow puppet show features many surreal characters from his unconscious: big faces, talking ravens, exploding cows and other creatures from the wild ubu-beyond.
Ubu’s Dreams explores new ways of telling stories with shadows, combining laser-cut wood figures, mechanical automata, a rich musical soundtrack as well as video and multimedia scenery. This 12-minute show consists of three separate plays with music interludes.
Where was it shown?
We may perform Ubu’s Dreams again in 2017. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or suggestions of possible venues for our next show.
In the meantime, you can watch the video of our first performance here on Vimeo.
And here is our photo album from recent shows, including the ‘making of’ Ubu’s Dreams.
How are the characters made?
The shadow puppets in Ubu’s Dreams are made of wooden figures and shapes created in Adobe Illustrator and laser cut onto ⅛” birch plywood. We animate these puppets by hand from behind the screen, holding them on thin vertical sticks planted on animation stands. A few of the characters have moving parts, such as arms or mouths — and some of the parts light up.
We plan to bring some of these figures to life by making them move with small motors. We’re also experimenting with spotlights and other forms of automation. Some long-term aspirations for this experiment are outlined in this Theatre Mécanique blog post.
What does the show look like?
Here are photos for each scene in the show.
See more pictures in this photo album — including the ‘making of’ Ubu’s Dreams.
What is going on behind the screen?
Here are photos of the performers and their puppets.
How does it work?
This shadow puppet show takes place inside the Magic Theater, a mobile stage for interactive storytelling we created for this project.
The Magic Theater is based on a wooden cart with a PVC framework. It includes a powerful projector over the performers’ heads, which illuminate the top of the screen, so the show can be seen even in a crowded room.
Who created this?
Here are the fine folks who created this project:
Created by Mark Petrakis and Fabrice Florin
Written, Performed and Directed by Mark Petrakis
Designed and Produced by Fabrice Florin
Animated and Engineered by Edward Janne
Music by Dan Cantrell
Stage Design and Construction by Fabrice Florin, Phyllis Florin, Edward Janne, Mark Petrakis and Jean Bolte
Special Thanks to our friends at Pataphysical Studios
How can I learn more?