Bread and Puppet Theater's "Man = Carrot Circus" on the Cambridge Common -- September 2, 2011

Bread and Puppet Theater: "Man = Carrot Circus", with an introduction by Scott Alarik. Held outdoors on Friday, September 2nd at 6 pm on the Cambridge Common, near the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Garden St., Cambridge. Free performance [pass-the-hat donations welcome], rain or shine. For further details, call the Boston-area Bread and Puppet Theater information line 617-800-9539 or log onto www.breadandpuppet.org.

The award-winning Bread and Puppet Theater, from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, presents their "Man = Carrot Circus" on the Cambridge Common, a space they have not inhabited since the mid-1980’s. Bread and Puppet champions a visually rich slapstick style of street-theater that is filled with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard, along with masked characters, political commentary, and a lively brass band for accompaniment.

"Man = Carrot Circus", for children of all ages, is based on the revelation that upright man rooted in dirt was created in the image of the upright carrot rooted in dirt. Twenty-five Vermont puppeteers and musicians will enact the issues of the day, not only in how they affect carrots, but how they affect us all. Some of the circus acts may be politically puzzling to adults, but usually an accompanying kid can explain what’s going on. The audience is welcome to examine all the masks and puppets after the performance, and cheap art will be for sale. Some examples of Bread and Puppet’s work can be found at www.breadandpuppet.org.

Scott Alarik (www.scottalarik.com), who will introduce the show, is the author of the very recently published Revival: A Folk Music Novel. He is no stranger to the music, theater, and art scene that put Harvard Square on the map many moons ago. His novel, along with Bread and Puppet’s outdoor Circus on the Common, is serving as the impetus to reinvigorate Harvard Square with an entire month of reincarnations, complete with the return of the HONK! Parade: Share The Streets on Oct. 2nd, a Bread and Puppet-inspired procession on Mass. Ave. leading into Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest. For complete information on Harvard Square’s “Revival Month” visit www.harvardsquare.com. For more information on HONK! and the parade that runs from Davis Square to Harvard Square, log onto www.honkfest.org.

Special thanks to the Cambridge Arts Council and the Harvard Square Business Association for helping make this event possible.

A SHORT HISTORY OF BREAD AND PUPPET THEATER

The Bread & Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand-puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police and other problems of that neighborhood. More complex theater pieces, in which sculpture, music, dance and language were equal partners, followed. The puppets grew bigger and bigger. Annual presentations for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day often included children and adults from the community as participants. Many performances were done in the street. During the Vietnam War, Bread & Puppet staged block-long precessions involving hundreds of people.

In 1970 Bread & Puppet moved to Vermont as theater-in-residence at Goddard College, combining puppetry with gardening and bread baking in a serious way, learning to live in the countryside and letting itself be influenced by the experience.

In 1974 the Theater moved to a farm in Glover in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The 140-year-old hay barn was transformed into a museum for veteran puppets. Our Domestic Resurrection Circus, a two-day outdoor festival of puppetry shows, was presented annually through 1998.

The company makes its income from touring new and old productions on the American continent and abroad and from the sales of Bread & Puppet Press’s posters and publications. The traveling puppet shows range from tightly composed theater pieces presented by members of the company, to extensive outdoor pageants which require the participation of many volunteers.

Bread & Puppet is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in this country. www.breadandpuppet.org