Alfred Jarry Lives!…Encore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pope’s Mustard-Maker (Le Moutardier du pape) was the last work that Alfred Jarry finished, a few months before his death in 1907. It is a bawdy three-act farce loosely based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, with a huge cast and lively songs bubbling with rhymes and wordplay.

Readers who know Jarry only from Ubu or his novels may be surprised that he wrote operettas, but his are fully Jarryesque, with his usual gusto for smutty jokes, legend, folklore, puns, wild invention, and popular theater. In his hands, Pope Joan becomes Jane, who runs off with her lover and disguises herself as pope. How will she pass inspection on the slotted chair? What will she do when her husband shows up? And has there ever been another production number celebrating the spiritual virtues of enemas?

This is the first translation of this major work; it also includes an introduction and notes by the translator, Doug Skinner.

All hail The Pope’s Mustard-Maker!

THE POPE’S MUSTARD-MAKER
by Alfred Jarry
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents #37
135 pp., paper, $12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…insane!

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These plays, plays by Axelrod, Mark, the other Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, his plays, are. And are the plays of Axelrod, no
t the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, and are the plays of Axelrod, Axelrodian.  Yes, in all manner of speaking, speaking high or low, they are and you, the Reader, Reader of Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, should read these plays with relish. For without relish, they would not be as absurd.
—Samuel Beckett


Can Superman avoid deportation?

Will Van Gogh survive an IRS audit?

Does Donald Trump talk to himself?

Has the world gone mad?

This outrageous and timely collection confronts our contemporary nightmares with devastating wit and insight. In the provocative title play, Superman stands trial as an illegal alien. In “A Colloquy of Birds,” Axelrod takes aim at a flock of notorious Republican women — the “politically effete.” And just when you thought it was safe to applaud, experience the maniacal monologues of Chairman Trump.

Here are eight rousing absurdist dramas destined to be modern classics.

SUPERMAN IN AMERICA & OTHER ABSURD PLAYS
by Mark Axelrod
Trade paperback, 354 pp.,  $16

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

 


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The play’s the thing….

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We proudly raise the curtain on this new collection by Eckhard Gerdes—three plays in a variety of styles which challenge preconceptions and subvert complacency.

Who knew that novelist Eckhard Gerdes was also a playwright? Members of the audience who saw the absurdist play ’S a Bird first performed at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago in 1994 did, and they almost died laughing in the process. The children of King-Edison Elementary School in Macon, Georgia, did when they argued about who would get to play which character in Clockwise in their school production in 2000. And a few dozen close friends of Eckhard Gerdes did when they read the script of The Death of Anton Webern, a play that has until now never been published or performed. These three plays offered here are very different from one another, but all show that distinctive voice and personality for which the writing of Eckhard Gerdes has become known. Enjoy these glimpses into the mind of one of America’s most innovative novelists as he depicts the drama and absurdity of human relationships.

“A writer clearly impatient with the currently devalued conventions of modern writing. His work is a fresh wind!” —Michael Moorcock

THREE PLAYS BY ECKHARD GERDES
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
trade paperback; 132 pages
$12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

 

Three Plays by D. Harlan Wilson

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Black Scat Books is proud to add D. Harlan Wilson to its list of luminaries. This is the renegade author’s first collection of plays, and it’s guaranteed to provoke  standing ovations — or perhaps we should say “fistfights in the orchestra” as Jarry’s Ubu Roi did so long, long ago.

Over the last two decades, D. Harlan Wilson has established himself as a writer of avant-garde fiction that has been called many names, ranging from speculative, literary and postmodern to irreal, bizarro, absurdist and “splatter-schtick.” Some say he defies categorization and is a genre unto himself. In THREE PLAYS, Wilson subverts traditional forms of stagecraft, unmans the helm of narrative, and exposes the nightmares that distinguish everyday life in urban and suburban America. Channeling Samuel Beckett and Jon Fosse in one scene, Russell Edson and Alfred Jarry in the next, he subjects actors as much as audiences and readers to mindless violence and torrid irrationality under the auspices of literary theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy and science. These plays belong more to an ultramodern zoo than a modern-day theater. In “The Triangulated Diner,” a Camero fishtails across the stage and runs over actors as jungle animals attack the audience. An elephant is hung onstage by a crane for stomping on the head of an abusive handler in “The Dark Hypotenuse.” “Primacy” finds a husband and wife struggling to write the perfect obituary, ideally one that includes wuxia death matches and flying holy men . . . This collection describes a microcosm that is at once uncanny and familiar, weird and ordinary, comedic and horrific. Wilson puts the human condition on trial and challenges us to view theatrics in a different light.

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The official publication date is March 15th, but ADVANCE COPIES ARE AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon. CLICK HERE to order.

THREE PLAYS BY D. HARLAN WILSON
Trade paperback; 160 pages; $12.95
ISBN-13: 978-0692631539

Cover photograph by Lodiza LePore / DESIGN BY NORMAN CONQUEST

Theatre of the Absurd—Opening Night!

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“Witkiewicz takes up and continues the vein of dream and grotesque fantasy exemplified by the late Strindberg or by Wedekind; his ideas are closely paralleled by those of the surrealists and Antonin Artaud which culminated in the masterpieces of the dramatists of the absurd—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Arrabal—of the late nineteen forties and the nineteen fifties.” -Martin Esslin

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz  (pen name: Witkacy) was desperate to get out of revolutionary St. Petersburg after the Bolsheviks seized power. Back in Poland, eager to make money and a name for himself, Witkacy began to write plays in a style that he called “Pure Form,” which foreshadowed the Theatre of the Absurd. By the time that he wrote VAHAZAR (1921), Witkacy had achieved a dreamlike dramaturgy:  centered on the paranoid and crazed despot, Vahazar, and spiraling outwards through an anthill society of automatons, religious cults, and quack scientific and social theories, this play is about being trapped in nothingness.

This translation of the play by Celina Wieniewska was commissioned by Stefan Themerson in 1967, and later announced as a forthcoming title by the legendary Gaberbocchus Press. Somehow the project was sidetracked and has never appeared until this Black Scat Books publication. Paul Rosheim, publisher of Obscure Publications and scholar of Themersonia, provides a sublime introduction with biographical information about Witkacy and the story of this translation. The book also includes an appendix featuring Franciszka Themerson’s “Vahazar: A Few Suggestions for Design.”

“…Witkiewicz, Bruno Schulz and myself, the three musketeers of the Polish avant-garde.” —Witold Gombrowicz

Available now on Amazon in the U.S. and Europe.

Click here to order this masterpiece of the absurd.

 

 

 

Give Different . . .

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To order, click on a title in the list below.

CAPTAIN CAP: HIS ADVENTURES, HIS IDEAS, HIS DRINKS. Alphonse Allais. Translated by Doug Skinner
SELECTED PLAYS OF ALPHONSE ALLAIS. Alphonse Allais. Translated by Doug Skinner
TINTIN MEETS THE DRAGON QUEEN in THE RETURN OF THE MAYA TO MANHATTAN.
Alain Arias-Misson
WAITING FOR GODEAU.  Honoré de Balzac. Translated by Mark Axelrod
SWEET AND VICIOUS. Suzanne Burns
DON’T WORRY, IT’S NOT ABOUT HATS.  Norman Conquest
THE NEGLECTED WORKS OF NORMAN CONQUEST. Norman Conquest
REAR WINDOWS: AN INSIDE LOOK AT FIFTY FILM NOIR CLASSICS. Norman Conquest
‘S A BIRD. a play by Eckhard Gerdes
THE SUGAR NUMBERS. Judson Hamilton
THE COMPLETE UNABRIDGED LEXICON.  Opal Louis Nations
SURREALIST TEXTS. Gisèle Prassinos
WOMEN THAT DON’T EXIST. Frank Pulaski
AN INCONVENIENT CORPSE. Jason E. Rolfe
FISHSLICES. Paul Rosheim
THE UNKNOWN ADJECTIVE AND OTHER STORIES. Doug Skinner
HOROSCRAPES. Doug Skinner
WALLOOMSAC; A WEEK ON THE RIVER. David R. Slavitt
CROCODILE SMILES. Yuriy Tarnawsky
OULIPO PORNOBONGO 3: ANTHOLOGY OF EROTIC WORDPLAY. Various
THE DERANGEMENT OF JULES TORQUEMAL. Robert Wexelblatt
THE STRAW THAT BROKE. Tom Whalen

BLACK SCAT REVIEW – No. 7 – Lit Noir
BLACK SCAT REVIEW – No. 8 – Seduction
BLACK SCAT REVIEW – No. 9/10 – Double Issue – Utter Nonsense