Center Holds First In-Person Event Since March 2020 with Renowned VT-Based Theater Company Bread & Puppet
Taking advantage of low infection rates in late fall, the Center co-organized a short-term residence of the legendary non-profit political theater group Bread & Puppet co-founded in 1960s New York City by German-American artist Peter Schumann. The visit culminated in the performance of a brand-new production in the tradition of the iconic Bread & Puppet Circuses that began at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont in 1970. Traditional circus tropes were recast, with the help of the company’s distinctive folk iconography, to draw attention to the urgent issues of the day that ranged from the current pandemic to the conflict in the Middle East. Paper mâché beasts of all sizes and Bread & Puppet’s Fight-Against-The-End-Of-The-World Brass Band contributed riotous inspiration to a colorful spectacle of protest and celebration that had to be moved indoors to the I.G. Greer Auditorium due to icy autumn rain. Audience members discussed the topics raised over Bread & Puppet’s famous sourdough rye bread -- baked at the Temple of the High Country -- with aioli long after the performance had ended.
Indeed, the atmosphere was as appreciative and festive as for the Cantastoria workshops that the troupe ran for community members at the Schaefer Center. “Cantastoria” is a street theater form championed by the VT puppeteers that involves the narration of pictures using song, movement, text and puppetry. Forms of Cantastoria have flourished in various guises all over Europe and Asia for the last 1,500 years. Bread & Puppet has enlisted them as an effective tool for activist street performance and successfully encouraged faculty, students and community members to experiment with its many possibilities in Boone. The Center is grateful for the support from so many partners from the Hayes School of Music to the Department of Theater & Dance and from the Reich College of Education to the Department of Art.