This summer we completed one of our big goals of living in Vermont: we finally attended a Bread and Puppet outdoor circus performance! And just what is Bread and Puppet you may ask? It’s art, it’s acting, it’s comedy, it’s political theater, it’s a little bit of everything. Let’s have a look at the show we saw. 🙂
In this particular instance the show started with people getting blown out of a cannon.
It was a pretty big explosion as you can tell by the feet sticking up out of the bushes on the right. I didn’t even see that pair of legs the first couple of times I looked at this picture.
The custodians did a good job of greeting folks and making sure everyone was sitting in appropriate places.
I loved the young fella!
Then the flag running got show going.
Next different skits were acted out with elaborate costumes and characters.
Bread and Puppet was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann in New York City’s Lower East Side.
The first productions were about rents, rats, police and other problems of the neighborhood.
More complex theater pieces followed with sculpture, music, dance and language becoming integrated.
Puppets grew bigger and bigger.
Many performances were done in the street and annual presentations happened.
During the Vietnam War, Bread and Puppet had block long processions and pageants involving hundreds of people.
In 1974 Bread and Puppet moved to a farm in Glover, Vermont. A 140 year old barn was transformed into a museum for veteran puppets. We parked near the museum and this is the path we walked to where the outside performance was held.
This shot was taken about an hour before the show started. But, my gosh, car after car kept coming. It was non stop and the area in the foreground filled with people and blankets as everyone spread out to watch the show. It was a beautiful day and people just kept coming non-stop.
In a nutshell, Bread and Puppet is described as political theater. If you can’t make it out, the sign above says ‘water crisis convention.’ This skit was trying to address concerns about the severe drought in California and how it affects us all.
Because no matter who you are, where you are from, WE ARE ALL IN…
…THE SAME BOAT.
And these crazy costumes, amazing band (the band was seriously awesome), creative skits sometimes simply to entertain, sometimes to inform, is the way Bread and Puppet has chosen to address matters they feel are important and happening in the world around us. We all have a limited amount of time on this earth and what a unique way to express oneself. Bread and Puppet continues to be one of the oldest, non-profit, self supporting theatrical companies in the country. They make their money by touring old and new shows both in America and abroad as well as sales from their publications and posters. We have nine of their posters and buy them as gifts. So if you find yourself needing to a reason to make a road trip to Vermont, check out the Bread and Puppet. It is a uniquely cool experience that, well, you just won’t find anywhere else.
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If you go:
Check out the website for show times, directions and more info.
Buy some of their posters.
And don’t skimp on your donation. They ask for a $10 donation for the performances. The first time I went I questioned if it was ‘really going to be worth it’ and when we brought our family, they were questioning. For the amount of work and effort that goes into these performances, oh my gosh, put your donation in. Buy posters. Spread the good karma if you are going to go and watch.