“Ubu” by Geoff Dunbar (1978)


“I think it was the late sixties, and I saw this wonderful production of Ubu on at the Royal Court, and Max Wall was playing his Royal Highness. And it was just astounding, I mean, that was my initiation with Alfred Jarry, I mean, he was quite an extraordinary man. I thought at that time, if I ever got the chance to do it, Ubu would just be the most natural animated picture. I related it to Jarry in terms of animation initiallybecause it was originally a marionette play that he put on at school as a boy, and then he placed it a little bit later in the theatre. And I think it’s part of anyone that works in the theatre, it’s part of their curriculum, you know, you come across Ubu, you come across the importance of Ubu in breaking the traditions.

…So we developed that style, you know, literally it was blobbing ink. And when we were doing some of the backgrounds – you know, they were very simple, we just drew them in like this, and then I would take a bottle of ink with those plunger things, just squeeze it, and then just whack it right across it, and you’d just let the blobs go.

I remember, it was in the BAFTA theatre, and it was a full house, a lot of people had turned up to see this piece. And it did the job, it broke the mould, I think, of people’s conception of animation. I mean, there it was: suddenly there was something else happening on the screen. And it was the most marvellous feeling when it finished, there was a little pause. And tremendous applause, I was really moved by that. I did, at another screening, overhear some people walking out saying it was the most revolting and disgusting film they’d ever seen, and they didn’t know what animation was coming to. At which I thought, well, I don’t know, I mean, it can’t always be little cutie characters.”

Geoff Dunbar

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