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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ubu Roi: the prémisses of skateboarding?

Irreverence and disrespect:

In 1896, Ubu Roi, a play by Alfred Jarry, premiered in Paris France. After only the first word of the play "merde", the French word for "shit", a riot, broke out. Ubu Roi was born and was immediately outlawed. As a consequence, talking about the play or saying the infamous “merde” word was considered a crime for the rest of the following century.

Ubu was a precursor of a massive trend of irreverence and disrespect against a clean world order.

Ubu’s play was widely and wildly hated for its scant respect to royalty, religion and society, its vulgarity and scatology, its brutality and low comedy, and its perceived utter lack of literary finish. Ubu was ugly, vulgar, gluttonous, grandiose, dishonest, stupid, jejune, voracious, cruel, cowardly, evil and “ubuesque”, a currently recurrent word in French.

Ubu Roi follows and explores a political, martial and felonious exploits, offering parodic adaptations of situations and plot-lines from Shakespearean drama, including Macbeth, Hamlet and Richard III. Like Macbeth, Ubu murders the king who helped him on the urging of his wife, usurps his throne and is in turn defeated and killed by his son.

In an other play, Ubu adapts the ghost of the dead king and Fortinbras's revolt from Hamlet, Buckingham's refusal of reward for assisting an usurpation from Richard III and The Winter's Tale's bear.



The reign of the absurd and the Big Brother

Ubu Roi is one of the precursors of the Theatre of the Absurd and the greater surrealist art movement of the early twentieth century. It is the first of three stylized burlesques in which Jarry satirizes power, greed and their evil practices — in particular the propensity of the complacent bourgeois to abuse the authority engendered by success.

It was followed by Ubu Cocu (Ubu Cuckolded) and Ubu Enchaîné (Ubu Enchained), neither of which was performed during Jarry's 34-year life.

Long after Jarry’s death and the beginnings of the original Ubu, the play and personage have attained the status of legend within French theatre culture.







Think about it, today in our derelict inner cities: who are considered disrespectful of the authority and the society in general, vulgar, destructor, stupid, scatologue, abusive, against the Petit Bourgeois state of mind and the pre-established order and criminal?

You got it.

So, what’s the connection with Lance Mountain? There you are, that's the point: there are no connections at all. Lance is a gentleman who also happens to be a great skateboarder and like Ubu, he is a Legend (one of the greatest, actually) and a proof that skateboarding is not practiced by thugs and criminals. The morale of the story is that it’s too bad that the cops, eager to criminalize free creation, free expression and free speech have never and will never hear about the story of Ubu Roi.

All pictures of Lance Mountain (and Grosso) by Xavier Lannes at Vans skatepark at the Block on June 23rd , 2010.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, June 23, 2010 




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