Théâtre des Pantins

Jarry adapted Ubu roi for an avant-garde marionette theater he cofounded in 1897 with the painter Pierre Bonnard, the composer Claude Terrasse, and the writers Franc-Nohain and A.-F. Herold. The Théâtre des Pantins mounted their shows in the atelier behind Terrasse’s house. Edouard Vuillard and Bonnard painted the walls and Jarry and Franc-Nohain acted as chief puppeteers. Bonnard also built the marionettes with the exception of Ubu, which Jarry created himself.

Censorship had not been an issue at the Œuvre because it was a subscribers’ theater. The Pantins was open to the public, however, so the company had to submit the script to a bureaucrat for review (predictably, his scatological neologism “merdre” was cut). This shorter version of Ubu roi for marionettes was never published. There were three performances.

Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), program for Ubu roi at the Théâtre des Pantins, 1898, lithograph. Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Museum Purchase, David A. and Mildred H. Morse Art Acquisition Fund. Photography by Peter Jacobs