Bread and Puppet Theater: The Return of Ulysses
January 27 - January 30, 2011
This "respectfully truncated," rough-hewn, and bold DIY adaptation of Claudio Monteverdi's opera was first developed this past June by Bread and Puppet in collaboration with the Theatre Department of Concordia University in Montreal and the Montreal Baroque Festival. The production was initially performed as a dress rehearsal in the DB Clarke Theatre at Concordia and then presented as a festival performance in the plaza of the Centre Mondial. During July & August in Glover, VT (Bread and Puppet’s base of operations), the opera was pared down to approximately 75 minutes, including 10 minutes of prologue. The performances have been conceived to include 20 volunteer puppeteers and 15-20 volunteer singers and instrumentalists in the chorus and orchestra with Peter Schumann playing the role of Penelope. Schumann describes the plot as follows: "In order to commit genocide on their competitors, the Trojans, the tricky Greeks employ their multitalented sky, full of custom tailored divinities, to justify the crime, just as we employ our Judeo-Christian sky, occupied by a divine air force and permitted by the in-god-we-trust court system, to justify our atrocities in Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere. By order of Jove, the boss, and with special help from his daughter Minerva, Ulysses finally returns home, where he has to murder 100 evil suitors in order to be happily reunited with wife and property." The piece includes two prologues, "Modern Sky" and "Antique Sky." For Boston, The Return of Ulysses will be performed by Peter Schumann and the Bread & Puppet Company, along with a large number of local volunteer puppeteers and musicians. Informal talk back with the artists follows each performance. Sourdough rye bread will be served and cheap art will be for sale after each performance.