Bread & Puppet Theater comes to Middletown, UCC with Cantastorias from the Possibilitarian Arsenal, a raucous retrospective of Bread and Puppet's work in this dynamic and democratic medium.
Though Bread and Puppet uses the Italian name ("canta-storia" means sung story in Italian), this versatile form has its roots in India ca. 600 AD and has flourished in various guises all over Europe and Asia for the last 1,500 years -- from etoki and kamishibai in Japan, to bankelsang in Germany. Common across this diversely productive history is the performance of pictures through the use of song, movement, text, and puppetry.
For 50 years, Bread and Puppet has performed cantastorias in the streets and on stage to speak to the urgent themes of the moment. This program brings together six Bread and Puppet cantastorias, from Hallelujah (1971) to From the Possibilitarian Arsenal of Belligerent Slogans (2017), all of which celebrate creative intervention in the face of an intolerable status quo and the beauty and necessity of protest. The pieces demonstrate the range of director, Peter Schumann's pictorial invention -- from woodcuts emulating Dürer's Apocalypse to wildly expressionistic paintings, as well as the range of the Bread and Puppet ensemble -- from impassive Brechtian didacticism to gleeful slapstick dance: all of it, of course, in service of "the Possibilitarian take-over of society."
After the performance Bread and Puppet will serve its famous free sourdough rye bread with aioli, and Bread and Puppet’s “Cheap Art” – books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread and Puppet Press – will be for sale