Absurd scatologically-obsessed marionettes

Ububu examines how people in power pull the strings in our lives, and sometimes we like it. Set in the timeless kingdoms of the Ultimate Ububu and Papa Popeddy, these two rulers flirt with mutually-opposed domination. When the Pope magically births a son, Franco Francesco, he embeds him in Ubeland’s ol’Factories as a spy. When the trick is found out, Ububu goes berserk with vengeance. “Popeddy’s quinced me one too many times,” the little puppet explodes, “And you all will pay!”

Based on the historical meeting between St Francis of Assisi and the Ayyubid Sultan Malik al-Kamil in the 13th century, Ububu unpacks a little-known historical moment to examine why sometimes odious characters exert lasting charisma. It also looks at why as a culture we continue to be fascinated with spurting geysers.

premiered April 2014 with the help of many >>>

The combination of virtuostic puppetry, live acting and music-making featured Maren Ward, Elise Langer, and Skyler Nowinski. The team of directors included Theatre Novi Most’s Lisa Channer and Jerome fellows Sarah Saltwick and Jake Jeppson, with advice from Dreamland Arts’ Zaraawar Mistry. Ranpura’s projected animations and shadow puppetry connected the medieval and modern worlds, blending media and bending expectations about theatrical space and how we think about history.


This activity was made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. It has been developed with the support of the Jerome Many Voices fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis.