Citizen Arts

-Generating cultural dialogues through original artistic work-

A Radio Play Performance
Inauguration Eve 2017

On January 19, 2017, the eve of the 2017 presidential inauguration, Citizen Arts will be presenting a radio play performance of Alfred Jarry’s UBU ROI directed by Meg Araneo.

When: Thurs. January 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Cell Theatre, 338 W. 23rd Street  (b/w 8th and 9th)

This performance is a theatrical protest against the ideologies and tactics of the incoming administration. While those involved in the production accept the legitimacy of the election, they do not accept the misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and sexual violence advanced by the president-elect and many of those he has named as his key advisors and potential members of his cabinet. Many of us in the arts community feel it is our responsibility to voice our outrage and disgust. It is through performance that we will do this in a communal space with room for discussion and debate.

Why this play?
The president-elect shares many of the despotic traits of the grotesque, narcissistic title character of Alfred Jarry’s 1896 play UBU ROI. Using bathroom humor, burlesqued Shakespearean plot lines, and monstrous violence, the play charts Ubu’s absurd rise to power and his ultimate downfall. It has been described as a theatrical assault on a culture of complacency and consumption. We are approaching Jarry’s work as a warning of what can happen when incompetence reigns and oppression is normalized.

What do you mean by “radio play performance”?
This will be more than a staged reading. We will be presenting the play in the style of a live radio play, replete with a sound-effects table and live music. We’ll add elements of theatricality to the performance through the use of innovative lighting and minimal costuming.

What do we hope will attend? 
Everyone! Admission is intentionally free so no one will be precluded from attending! Those who support our political objectives are of course welcome as well as those who do not. We want our art to be an act of political engagement but one that is open to true exchange. We only require that the dialogue remain respectful.

How To Support This Project

All of the artists involved in this project are donating their talents. No one is being paid, but we still have costs associated with the event. We have rental fees for the performance and rehearsal spaces, which as many of you know in NYC can be pretty hefty. Since this is more than a staged reading, we also have to lay out money for materials and audio equipment. This fundraising campaign is to cover those costs.

Our estimated budget is $1000. We are asking for donations as small or as large as you can give. If 100 people give just $10 each we will meet our goal. If by chance the donations we receive exceed our estimated budget, we pledge to give the remaining money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization committed to combatting hate, pursuing justice, and nurturing a culture of tolerance. The SPLC ( has since the election been tracking the spike in hate crimes across the country, and so we feel the organization’s work aligns with our objectives.