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"The Shatterer of Worlds" : performances presented by Bread & Puppet Theater in the Cyclorama
"The Shatterer of Worlds (chapel with naturalization services for applicants requesting citizenship in the shattered world)." Runs January 23 through February 2, 2014.
By: Bread & Puppet Theater
The award-winning Bread & Puppet Theater from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom presents their The Shatterer of Worlds (chapel with naturalization services for applicants requesting citizenship in the shattered world), a walkabout political puppet performance, enveloping audience and performers alike within the Cyclorama.
The Shatterer of Worlds intent, as described by Bread & Puppet's founder and artistic director Peter Schumann:
"At the moment when the first atomic bomb was dropped, Oppenheimer, the chief architect of that bomb, recalled words from the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu prayer epic: 'Life, the splendor of 1000 suns blazing all at once, resembling the exulted soul, is become Death, the shatterer of worlds.' In view of the latest failed earth summit and faced with the likelihood of multiple planetary shatterings, this sentence is reproduced by the Paper Maché Authorities in the Cathedral of Impermanence for your enlightenment and as a reminder of our possible predicament."
Schumann then further elaborates:
"The overt extrajudicial capabilities of the society system allow the shatterer of worlds to function legally to cultivate destructions so minute and gigantic, the eye cannot perceive and the mind cannot behold them. No politician, no hazardous substance, but a well-established tradition and demon strengthened by endless practices of devastation, the shatterer continues to plot the assassination of existence-as-
".... as Bread and Puppet fans know, distilling political protest into art is a kind of magic." ("Bread and Puppet: Hidden soul of the 60's" editorial, The Boston Globe, Sept. 13, 2013)
"... art for one and for all, straight from the hand, right to the moral core." (Peter Schumann's "The Shatterer" Queens Museum exhibit, The New York Time, Nov. 8 2013)
Link to representative footage of "The Shatterer of Worlds" taken by Mark Dannenhauer can be found at http://vimeo.com/
[Please be advised that the one hour performance is a walkabout political puppet show, but there will be folding chairs and floor pillows available, although not guaranteed for every attendee.]
BRIEF BACKGROUND ON BREAD & PUPPET THEATER
Now in its 50th year, the Bread & Puppet Theater is one of the oldest and most unique self-sustaining nonprofit theatrical companies in the United States. The theater champions a visually rich slapstick style of street-theater that is filled with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard, combined with masked characters, improvisational dance movement, political commentary, and a lively brass band for accompaniment. The company’s performances are described by The New York Times as "a spectacle for the heart and soul."
Bread & Puppetis based on a large farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. It was founded by Peter Schumann, German born artist-dancer, in 1963, and for the next decade his giant puppets figured prominently in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in New York City, Washington DC and other cities in the US and abroad. Indoor performances were both simpler and more complex, ranging from quiet, intense masked shows ("Fire", "Man Says Good-Bye") with 4-6 players, to huge, lengthy spectacles ("Cry of the People for Meat").
In 1970, an invitation from Vermont's Goddard College to be theater-in-residence, facilitated a longed-for change to country life. "Our Domestic Resurrection Circus," an outdoor festival of music, art, puppetry and pageantry, began then, and ran almost every summer, growing to crowds of tens of thousands, until 1998. Since then, a smaller (but with giant puppets intact), more dispersed version continues on Sundays in July and August; the company continues touring and workshopping the rest of the year in New England and around the globe; and Schumann continues as director and artist — and bread baker — with a vengeance! www.breadandpuppet.org
Bread & Puppet Theater c/o Mary Curtin