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pictures & text by Layla

Bread and Puppet lives to prove that people are capable of organising themselves with dignity and respect. Bread and Puppet also lives to prove the spirited nature of folklore.

Founded by Peter Schumann in New York in 1963, it, the black raven of America’s conscience, hovered over the war torn Reason of Humanity. The theatre is unique in its beauty and power combining what may appear as contradictory forces of experience: huge, rough masks reveal the depth and finesse of the mystery of human relationship to this world. The texts are powerful, yet subtle and highly succinct. The scream of anger conveys an ocean of love, tenderness, passion and the power of life. Ultimately, the theatre is a dance of movement and of the dynamic mingling of art, life, humans and the world.

The members of the group live on a farm in lush and wild northern Vermont where they grow their own food. They treat the audience with home-baked bread & garlic sauce. Delicious! A permanent puppet museum offers a voyage into the life of this unique phenomenon and into previous shows with free guided tours on Sundays. Performances take place, literally, every where on the huge territory: in the woods, in the fields, in the New Building, under the barn at night, and at whatever unexpected spot. Cosmic powers seem to have agreed to help out the performers. When we attended the Pageant in the woods, the moment the devils took out their dark clouds and made noise, down came the rain and washed our bitsies down. When the angels brought out their suns teasing the devils, out came the sun and dried the water out.

The seclusion has its obvious advantages that foster comradeship and inspiration. Yet, the American transportation system is so lacking, that the only way to get there is by car. And cars, as some of us know (even if some of us drive them) are guilty of being involved up to their chin in politics and mess. But well, if I am ever to found my own gig, it would be even further away and more remote (like the Neanderthal caves of the Crimea) and then what alternative fuel will ever get you there? So, who am I to talk.

The Bread & Puppet Theater makes frequent tours around the world. Do catch their show or even better yet, see if you can invite them to perform wherever you may be.

Help with parking and crossing the road.

The first to greet the eye is the Cheap Art Store located in the bus. Art made by everyone, available for everyone!

A cosy alcove of privacy in the woods.


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