When used correctly, the profane actually serves a very sacred social function, one that is too often lost in the shock of the profanity itself: it forcibly tears away the veil of unthinking habit and empty tradition. In this sense, French playwright Alfred Jarry was a master of the profane. Indeed, his finest creation, the infamous Pa Ubu of the play Ubu Roi, is nothing but a vessel for all that Jarry considered base and cowardly in humanity. (Appropriately enough, Ubu's famous first line in that play is simply, "Puh-shit.") Yet Elizabeth Swados's sharp new musical Jabu, based on Jarry's life and using healthy portions of his Ubu play cycle as illustration, shows us just why this high priest of blasphemy is still so sacred to modern theater.
From his childhood in Laval, France, in the late 1800's through his bohemian life in Paris and a rather messy self-destruction