At the Bread & Puppet farm in Glover, VT, puppeteers, dancers, painters, carpenters, poets and breadbakers are hard at work on this summer's productions.
By the garden and the laundryline in the backyard small groups work on sketches commenting on urgent topics from the news, assisted by representatives of the B&P Circus Band; outside the entrance to the B&P Museum, just behind the big bread oven, sun and wind harden paper maché that has been applied to clay sculptures – the resulting giant figures will populate this year's pageant; and in the chokecherry shade behind the outdoor kitchen two fiddlers rehearse a manifesto declaring that "since our civilization's ears have gone deaf, trees have to shout truth from their mouths till hearing is restored."
Fifty-two years ago. Bread & Puppet Theater performed Our Domestic Resurrection Circus for the first time at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Since then, this capacious and provocative title has served as the basis of annual spectacles that generations of audiences have come to rely on for satire and celebration in the face of intolerable circumstances. This year, B&P will take up the tradition again, albeit with a timely subtitle: The Apocalypse Defiance Circus. The show is in two parts: a raucous circus in the gravel pit amphitheater, followed by a more contemplative pageant in the surrounding forest and fields. The circus and pageant will play every Sunday at 3 p.m., preceded by sideshows and ding-dongs at 2 p.m., through August 28.
On Friday evenings in summers before COVID, Bread & Puppet typically performed a changing program of shows in development in its indoor performance space, The Paper Maché Cathedral. After a two-year hiatus, Friday evening shows will resume this summer, but will take place outdoors behind the B&P Museum.
The first of these Friday evening shows is called The Theory of Our Needs. Of this show, B&P director Peter Schumann says, "Singing the hymn of need and dancing pragmatic utilitarianism into the moment-at-hand is reserved for toddlers only. The mature Homo sapiens has lost that intelligence. We need dirt on our feet and whistles to drive our brain from its prison into the void. This show is about whistles and dirt."
Changing performances will continue on Friday evenings through August 26.
On all performance days Bread and Puppet’s “Cheap Art” – books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread and Puppet Press – will be for sale in the Bread & Puppet Museum Store, and on Sundays B&P press items will also be available at The Van Store near the circus field.
Admission for all shows is by donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. Donations can also be made in advance at www.breadandpuppet.org.
Our Domestic Resurrection Circus 2022: The Apocalypse Defiance Circus plays at 3 p.m. (sideshows/ding-dongs at 2 p.m.) every Sunday through August 28. The Theory of Our Needs and subsequent shows play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evenings through August 26. All shows at the Bread & Puppet Farm, 753 Heights Rd/Rt. 122 in Glover, VT. More info at www.breadandpuppet.org.