translated by Kenneth McLeish
Alfred Jarry’s Slave Ubu (Ubu Enchaîné, ‘Ubu in chains’) is the third in his influential cycle of plays about Pa Ubu, the grotesquely comical character first encountered in King Ubu (Ubu Roi) and then in Cuckold Ubu (Ubu Cocu). Written in 1899, the play was first published in 1900.
This version of the play is translated by Kenneth McLeish, who in his introduction to the published text summarises the action as follows: 'Pa Ubu decides that he has had enough of tyranny, and that the only way to be free is to become a slave. He attaches himself and Ma Ubu to the dear old man Peebock and his daughter Eleutheria, and rules their household. The Three Free Men and their Sergeant Pisseasy (Eleutheria’s fiancé) come to the rescue, and Ma and Pa Ubu are transferred to jail, preparatory to being sold as galley-slaves to Sultan Suleiman of Turkishland. The jail is so comfortable that the Three Free Men and the Populace break in to become convicts themselves. Two convoys of convicts set out to Turkishland, one consisting of the Ubs and the convicts (who have generously exchanged clothes and manacles with their guards) and the other led by Pisseasy. Sultan Suleiman makes them all galley slaves, and they row into the sunset and live happily ever after.'