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UBU: A Spectacular Evening Of Theatrical Mayhem

How A 19-Year-Old Is Trying To Shake Up Youth Theater

UBU at Space 4 Art.

Credit: Max Fischer Players

Above: UBU at Space 4 Art.

Tracy McDowell, Associate director and co-founder The Max Fischer Players

Michael Schwartz, Director and co-founder The Max Fischer Players


Tracy McDowell says that the mission of The Max Fischer Players is: "To redefine the theatrical expectations," especially when it comes to young people. The company's inaugural production is "UBU" (running August 10-12 at Space 4 Art).

Tracy McDowell is 19-years-old. When she was at Canyon Crest Academy she said they told her that she could do anything she wanted, and after hearing that for years, she said she believed it. That's part of the reason she co-founded The Max Fischer Players. She wanted to put on the play "UBU," and it never occurred to her that she couldn't. Her determination and confidence is reflected in the name she choose for her theater troupe, The Max Fischer Players. For anyone who remembers the Wes Anderson film "Rushmore," Max is the main character played by Jason Schwartzman and he's something of an ambitious overachiever. Maybe this sequence will jog your memory.

McDowell bursts with a similar enthusiasm for just going out and getting things done and doing it yourself if you have to.

According to the press release: "The Max Fischer Players shatter the current mold of youth theatre in San Diego by treating young people as respected collaborators and artists who deserve the chance to work in a company that considers itself a theater--and not a youth theater. Started by a 19 year old, Tracy McDowell, and her former high school theatre teacher, Michael Schwartz, both began with the goal to produce bold works that other theaters--including professional theatres-- shy away from."

“We want to provide a place where not only actors, but student designers, directors, and musicians can work alongside San Diego professionals,” says McDowell. “With them as their mentors, we can refine our skills as the next generation of theater artists.”

The Max Fischer Players and the San Diego Guild of Puppetry present "UBU" by Alfred Jarry in a world premiere translation by Ghislaine Schwartz. This classic French comedy is directed by Michael Schwartz and runs August 10, 11, 12 at 8:00 pm at the outdoor Space 4 Art Theatre. Tickets will be available at the door. Audience members are encouraged to bring things to throw at the actors (preferably silly string or something soft) as well as a beach chair and blanket (venue is outdoors).

McDowell describes the play as, "An absurdist trip through the looking glass into a world of political commentary, UBU is the story of Ma UBU persuading Pa UBU to murder the King Wenceslas of Poland and the mania that ensues. This anarchic play with music and violence features a ten person cast who play 26 different characters."

Director Michael Schwartz says, “I’ve always admired this play since I found out that there was a riot in the theatre on its opening night. This is a production that encourages the audience to become a part of— and not to be afraid might be disturbed by the unwrapping of a cough drop.”

The press releases states: "Written by Alfred Jarry in 1889 with his best friend when they were in their early teens, the story is a ludicrous adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MacBeth - with the sole purpose of mocking their incompetent teacher. Jarry went on to a career as a writer and eventually staged the play with professionals in Paris. The production opened with a profanity, featured actors pretending to be puppets against a surrealist set, and closed as quickly as it opened when riots broke out between supporters and detractors in the audience. Jarry was a performance artist before such a thing existed--riding around town on a bicycle dressed in a newspaper suit, speaking in bizarre speech patterns like Pa Ubu--the lead character in this play--and eventually dying with the words, 'I would like a toothpick.'"

For reservations, go to the play's contact page.

Fact Sheet: UBU


By Alfred Jarry

Adapted and directed by Michael Schwartz Co-produced with the San Diego Guild of Puppetry

WHEN: August 10 - 12, 2012 (preview night: Thursday, August 9 at 8pm)

Friday/Sunday 8pm; Saturday 8pm, 11pm

WHERE: Outdoor Theatre, Space 4 Art

325 15th Street San Diego, 92101


Director: Michael Schwartz

Associate Director: Tracy McDowell

Designer: Nadja Lancelot

Stage Manager: Elana Lantry

Puppet Designer: Lynne Jennings, Mindy Donner

Set Designer:Tommy Walborn

Costume Designer: Frances Lopez

Assistant Costume Designer: Christabel Donker Composer/Sound Design: Austin Comstock, Jacob Morrison Videography: Jason Segal

Producing Consultant: Alex Goodman


Mike Nieto Claire Worsey Jennifer Graessle Nick Scutti

Kyle Koerber

Taylor Wuthrich

Jason Lethert

Paul Lewallen

Jason Luna

Tracy McDowell

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