Bread and Puppet

Gail Westbrook Issue: Section:

Peter Schumann's Bread and Puppet Theater, that's how I remember it, from the mid 60's in NYC. They did what I thought of in those days as children's performances, at The Bridge Theater, 4 St. Mark's Place, where I worked. But it was a production I saw in a “loft” that stays with me. I remember a small, dark space, raked seats, the smell of fresh baked bread. The puppets and masks were white, black and red, red for the blood and flame of self-immolation (do you remember the Vietnamese monks who set themselves on fire to protest our war against their people?). The music was minimal, sometimes terrifying, sometimes, well, sublime. The theme was war and tragedy and and compassion and love. I don't remember any spoken words in the production, but I remember the feeling. And the bread. And an acquaintance, Margot, who ran off to join the circus, the Bread and Puppet circus. I hadn't thought about Peter Schumann and his theater for forty years, until last Christmas, when my grandchildren sent me a book. It's such a short book I can quote it here: See the world: when you sow seeds on it and when you pour water on it and let the sun shine on it it will grow and the birds will feed on it and the children will eat it and the grandmas and the grandpas sing hallelujah but when you put fire to the world and when you poison it the world will cry and the children will die.

They still know how to make an impression.
For the 38th year Bread & Puppet
returns to Theater for the New City
 from December 3-13, 2009
presenting two shows:

 Tear Open the Door of Heaven
Wednesday - Sunday, December 3 - 13
The Dirt Cheap Money Circus
Saturday & Sunday 5-6 & 12-13

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