Much has been written about Spooky Action Theater’s premiere production Jarry Inside Out by Richard Henrich. I take this opportunity to connect it to popular culture, in a different manner than I have seen written so far.
It is a connection to several memorable television shows from the 1980’s through early 2000’s. Well, if you watched television back then either for yourself or with your children with shows developed by producer David Gary Goldberg such as Family Ties, Spin City, and Brooklyn Bridge.
Now you may ask why I see this connection. Well, I always remember the credits that said “Ubu Productions” and then the voice over saying, “sit Ubu, sit Ubu.” Followed by “good boy,” then by a dog’s husky bark and an image of a handsome black Labrador retriever with a Frisbee in his mouth. The dog’s name was Ubu Roi. I later learned that the dog was named after Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry’s 1896 play.
Goldberg even wrote an autobiography entitled, Sit, Ubu, Sit: How I Went from Brooklyn to Hollywood with the Same Woman, the Same Dog, and a Lot Less Hair.
In a recent Internet search I was informed that “sit, Ubu, sit” has been a popular cultural reference. So, perhaps Jarry as Ubu and as presented in Jarry Inside Out is really with us still. He is living as he wrote, “the brain continues to function after death, and death could be the gateway to an endless adventure.” Well, an adventure if Jarry’s paradise is in the guise of a handsome dog barking as television credits roll some 100 years after Jarry’s untimely death in 1907.
Sure, Jarry was a precursor to Dada and other 20th Century edgy theater thinking; but heck he may have influenced more through David Gary Goldberg and his television production company. Unfortunately, we can’t ask Goldberg, for his passed away in 2013. Ubu Roi the black lab has also passed away.
Now I may be quite mistaken or perhaps only dreamed it; but I thought I saw and heard some lines that sounded like “sit Ubu, sit” in the Spooky Action production. And if I didn’t, no matter. Sometimes we all want a little mystery to remain a mystery, don’t we?
Jarry Inside Out plays through June 21, 2015 at Spooky Action Theater, performing at Universalist National Memorial Church – 1810 16th Street NW, in Washington, DC. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.
Click for Robert Michael Oliver’s review on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Gary David Goldberg’s website.