Total This & That Circus
Sunday, September 1st, 3 pm
(Cambridge, MA 02138) Bread & Puppet Theater: Total This & That Circus. Held outdoors on Sunday, September 1st at 3 pm. On the Cambridge Common, near the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Waterhouse 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.
As part of a world-wide birthday celebration of “50 Years of Sublime Arsekicking Puppetry,” the award-winning Bread & Puppet Theater from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom presents their Total This & That Circus on the Cambridge Common, a public space they used to frequent prior to the mid-1980’s. For the past few years, the company has once again revived its descent upon the park, resurrecting that age old Harvard Square tradition of outdoor theatrical political rabble rousing.
About: 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 for Meat”).
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 the rest of the year in New England and around the globe; and Schumann continues as director and artist — and bread baker — with a vengeance!
Bread & Puppet is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-sustaining theatrical companies in this country. www.breadandpuppet.org