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Paula Vogel's National Ubu Roi Bake-Off Blends Playwriting With Activism

The political playwriting workshop will be held across the country on Presidents' Day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel will launch her National Ubu Roi Bake-Off on February 19.
(© Tricia Baron)

The National Ubu Roi Bake-Off, a playwriting workshop created by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel (Indecent, How I Learned to Drive), will be held on Presidents' Day, February 19. Open to the general public, the event will feature hundreds of aspiring and accomplished writers across the country who will present their own short works based on Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, an 1896 revolutionary drama about a despot king awash in murder, genocide, a war with Russia, and the revolt of his own countrymen and women.

Billed as a "call to action," the National Ubu Roi Bake-Off will occur at theaters and colleges across the U.S. where, on average, 50 participants will be able to read and perform their five-minute works inspired by Jarry's original French play, which caused a riot when it debuted in Paris. The play was subsequently barred from the stage, and the playwright transferred the production to a puppet theater.

According to the rules of Vogel's playwriting Bake-Offs – a trademark of her long, distinguished career as a teacher of playwrights – participants will have 48 hours in advance of the Bake-Off day to create a short work – resembling a play, a poem, song, skit, stand-up, mini-opera, etc. – that they will be invited to perform for their peers. "Ingredients" for the Bake-Off and other guidelines to enter have been posted by Vogel on her website. Applicants must register to participate by 7pm on Saturday, February 17.

Vogel says, "It is my hope that across the U.S. and around the world, artists, theaters, 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." She adds, "There are no critiques. Bake-Offs are to theater what sketching is to oil paintings."

For more information or to register, click here.

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