Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
September 2, 2012
Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians. Held outdoors on Sunday, September 2nd at 3 pm on the Cambridge Common, near the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Garden St., Cambridge. Free performance [pass-the-hat donations welcome], rain or shine. For further details, call the Boston-area Bread & Puppet Theater information line 617-286-6694 or log onto www.breadandpuppet.org.
Soon to begin celebrating its 50th anniversary, the award-winning Bread & Puppet Theater, from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, presents their The Circus of the Possibilitarians on the Cambridge Common, a public space they used to frequent prior to the mid-1980’s. Last year the theater finally returned to help launch Harvard Square’s inaugural “Revival Month.” And now a return engagement is in order.
The Circus of the Possibilitarians is a satirical horse and butterfly circus, addressing pertinent national and international issues in a clownish fashion, features rotten ideas, a wild dancing horse, a saxophone ballet, a solemn salute to the world's casualties and much more! Not to mention The Dire Circumstance Jubilation Ensemble providing a little bit of brass and a lot of noise. Please take note that if some of the circus acts are politically puzzling to adults, accompanying children can usually explain them. The audience is welcome to examine all the masks and puppets after the performance, and Cheap Art will be for sale. Examples of Bread & Puppet’s work can be found at www.breadandpuppet.org.
Bread & Puppet’s outdoor Circus on the Common is serving as the kick off to what is now Harvard Square’s annual “Revival Month,” an entire month of “reincarnations” which will spill over into early October with the return of the HONK! Parade: Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes, and Feet Parade on Oct. 7th, a Bread & Puppet-inspired procession on Massachusetts Avenue leading into Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest. For complete information on Harvard Square’s “Revival Month” visit www.harvardsquare.com. For more information on HONK! and the parade that runs from Davis Square to Harvard Square, log onto www.honkfest.org.
Special thanks to the Cambridge Arts Council and the Harvard Square Business Association for helping make this event possible; funded in part by the Cambridge Arts Council.
BRIEF BACKGROUND ON BREAD & PUPPET THEATER
Bread & Puppet Theater is one of the oldest and most unique theatrical companies in the United States. The theater champions a visually rich slapstick style of street-theater that is filled with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard, combined with masked characters, improvisational dance movement, political commentary, and a lively brass band for accompaniment. The company’s performances are described by The New York Times as "a spectacle for the heart and soul."
Bread & Puppet is based on a large farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. It was founded by Peter Schumann, German born artist-dancer, in 1963, and for the next decade his giant puppets figured prominently in anti-Vietnam-War demonstrations in New York City, Washington DC and other cities in the US and abroad. Indoor performances were both simpler and more complex, ranging from quiet, intense masked shows ("Fire", "Man Says Good-Bye") with 4-6 players, to huge, lengthy spectacles ("Cry of the People").
In 1970, an invitation from Vermont's Goddard College to be theater-in-residence, facilitated a longed-for change to country life. "Our Domestic Resurrection Circus," an outdoor festival of music, art, puppetry and pageantry, began then, and ran almost every summer, growing to crowds of tens of thousands, until 1998. Since then, a smaller (but with giant puppets intact), more dispersed version continues on Sundays in July and August; the company continues touring and workshopping in the rest of the year in New England and around the globe; and Schumann continues as director and artist — and breadbaker — with a vengeance!
Bread & Puppet is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in this country. www.breadandpuppet.org