(Hu)mans Shall Not Live By Bread Alone…
“We believe in puppet theater as a wholesome and powerful language that can touch men and women and children alike, and we hope that our plays are true and are saying what has to be said, and that they add to your enjoyment and enlightenment.” – Peter Schumann
About 15 years ago I had the pleasure of witnessing a wonderful spectacle of art, puppetry, acting, political theater and community all displayed in full glory at the Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, VT. Bread and Puppet was founded in the 1960s in NYC by Peter Schumann – who is still the driving force behind it’s now scaled down productions.
Growing up in San Francisco area, and being an artist myself, meant I was familiar with political theater, puppetry and performance art… but I had never witnessed anything like the Domestic Resurrection Circus… A day-long production of multiple small (and very large), political plays incorporating painting, sculpture, costumes, acting, humor, politics and, of course, puppets. The setting was a rural landscape of rolling hills and old barns (on a former dairy farm) with a large natural amphitheater as the central stage. Surrounding the amphitheater the woods were filled with small “sculpture happenings and esoteric musicals with activist ingredients…” (to quote Peter Schumann)
Recently I went back to the Bread and Puppet Theater… It was revelatory and inspiring. The museum on the grounds holds hundreds of puppets and sculptural works, along with paintings and banners and ephemera from the many performances over the 50 years this group has shared their work, ideas and bread around the country and world. This is the first installment of photos from my visit.
A photographer works to get just the right angle on some of the wonderful banners along the route to the amphitheater.
Decorations in the form of printed and painted banners, and paintings directly on one of the large barn buildings at Bread and Puppet.
One entrance into the museum with a washerwoman welcoming visitors from just inside the door…
The washerwomen puppets and sculptures celebrate the workers Schumann and his associates met during the beginnings of Bread and Puppet in NYC.
I loved the light streaming through this window and onto the white sculptures and puppets… as I photographed I began to notice the living resident near the window…
These faces were about two and a half feet tall… so elegant.
Outside the museum and down the hill, past where the bread is baked and served, past the lines of banners… and into the amphitheater… a crowd of onlookers!
Two cuties on their way to find a seat and watch the theater!
Stay tuned for the next batch of photographs from my amazing day at the Bread and Puppet Theater. To read more go to the website http://breadandpuppet.org/