Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bread and Puppet





Today we went to the Sunday afternoon Bread & Puppet show in Glover, Vermont.

Bread & Puppet is a celebration of life, humanity, humor, radical politics, bread, nature and imagination all expressed in a form of theatrical circuses, pageantry, and plays. Most often, and most dramatically, this happens in the broad fields and woods of the Bread & Puppet farm in northern Vermont. Like many inspirational and creative endeavors it is hard to explain in words, but suffice to say that it, for me, is a deeply inspiring and spiritually/creatively fulfilling experience to see a Bread & Puppet show.

I actually recall going to a Bread & Puppet show at Goddard College when I was either in kindergarten or maybe first grade and mostly I remember being scared by it. Puppets can be like that. I'm sure I enjoyed it a lot too, but being scared is what I remember. It was more or less thirty years before I again saw a Bread & Puppet event.

I recently wrote to a friend about Bread & Puppet:

"I have long had an aversion to hippy-esqe stuff. I knew about Bread & Puppet for years and never went because of just that. I had no interest in this sort of dead-head event that every groovy person I knew went to. When I finally did go, almost by accident, I was completely taken by the experience. Despite what it might seem like, it's lineage is more political German street theatre; almost anarchist in it's semi-sensical political concepts. My earlier misgivings aside, I experience it as a celebration of art, life, and humanity."

Bread & Puppet is something of an institution here in the northeast, having been around for decades and still as funny, immaginative and inspiring as it ever was. Through the eighties and nineties it became something of a major destination in the summer that culminated in a large and out of control multi-day event with fields of campers. Eventually someone died, and that was the end of Bread & Puppet for a while.

But a couple of years later it started back up again as a scaled down and minimally publicized event on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons with no camping. It sort of self corrected back to a manageable size and has remained that way for the last decade or so.

There is a splendor built of simple and wildly immaginative puppets, props, songs, ideas, and costumes that brings a sense of awe and joy to my heart.

God bless Bread & Puppet!

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