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An anti-eulogy for Alfred JARRY

"it is acceptable only after the poet’s death- maybe a hundred years later - when the astringent explosives of the poets’ heart have had time to calm down. For as long as he is alive, they are too powerful" Antonin Artaud

November 1, 2007 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Alfred Jarry. On this day, Buchinger’s Boot Marionettes premiered their latest work, "The Armature of the Absolute" at the Antic Teatre, Barcelona.

From his youth onward, Alfred Jarry was occupied with the documenting and mapping of his own ontogenesis, which is the study of an organism from its most embryonic to its most evolved of forms. Throughout his writings and manifestations, Jarry illustrated and modified his unrelenting process as a series of spiraling recursive stages, that generated at all levels, a literature and drama that highlight a tension between opposing universes. His non-stop expansion between himself and the herd, his yardstick which constituted personal freedom, was a perpetual individuation- that is, life itself- which allowed for him a transformation of the everyday into a veritable theatre of metamorphosis.

"The Armature of the Absolute" proposes a hypothetical charting of Jarry’s ontogenesis that commences after his death. The fertilized egg from which we begin this study is the entire legendary domain of Jarry folklore-literary, dramatic, biographical, critical and pataphysical. The embryo that will be traced throughout various stages of development is a personality and its creations that have literally survived mundane death. It is a tale of a man that has avoided expiration by associating himself so strongly with his creations, yet all the while informing the milieu- not of what it is not, but rather from which it has emerged.


Prologue: "pour out your soul before it’s strangled."

Act 1
Jarry receives Absolution and a toothpick on his deathbed. He then encounters for the first time ’Jarry larger than Jarry’and is crushed under the weight of Ubu.

Act 2
Introducing the coprophilic, autochtonous murderer, Ubu- the golem who stared Jarry in the eye everyday after giving his master fame, and who had eventually taken over Jarry’s public life. He returns in the classic Ubic tradition in a battle between clean and unclean forces, this time constipated and stooping even lower. He is accompanied by his three henchmen, the palotins, who beat rape and rob the famous mechanical duck of the inventor, Vauconson. Ubu reveals his mastery of the material world and explains the reasons for his 100 years of constipation.

Act 3
In Jarry’s private life, it is the character Dr. Faustroll, another face of the Jarry-Janus- who through telepathic postcards provided an account of companionship and camaraderie in moments of hermitage and time travel. Accompanied by his baboon and writ-carrying bailiff, Faustroll travels to the ends of Ethernity in order to send his first Postcard in a long time. The greasy mummy, Artaud, prepares the boat-ride of 100 years.

Act 4
"The Fixed-Pin-Passion" depicts a marriage of Jarry with his bicycle and of a primordially infinite series of falls that he overcomes by replacing the fantasy with even more fantasy. Told through arcane bicycle culture terminology, it is a tale about something flying off and completing the cycle.

Act 5
Canonization by Pope Panurge

Epilogue: "He makes his hole without uttering a peep"

The Company:

Patrick Sims (EU): Author, director, design, decor, puppeteer, music.

Mafalda da Camara (P): puppeteer, décor, costumes et accessories

Richard Penny (UK): puppeteer, décor, machines.

Philippe Hauer (F): actor, puppeteer.

Julian Weare (UK): lighting design

Oriol Viladomiu (E): sound

Ata Ebtekar (aka Sote) (Iran): Musique (Sub Rosa Records) ’persian electronic music: yesterday and today 1966 - 2006’

Josephine Biereye (D): Masks and accessories


Alfred Jarry Bosse de Neige, Faustroll, Panmoufle Dr. Faustroll Ubu The Palotins Bosse de Nage Antonin Artaud
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