Bread and Puppet Theater presents The Possibilitarians

Scene from The Possibilitarians
Photo by Ashley Marinaccio
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Scene from The Possibilitarians Photo by Ashley Marinaccio

Scene from The Possibilitarians
Photo by Ashley Marinaccio

BOSTON, Massachusetts — Commencing its 50th anniversary of presenting in-earnest socio-political puppetry, the long-standing award-winning Vermont-based Bread & Puppet Theater, featuring Artistic Director Peter Schumann and his troupe of puppeteers, returns for its 6th annual visit to the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, bringing their signature powerful imagery, masked characters, and giant papier-mâché puppets. This year, the one week residency includes the evening double bill of The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises (recommended for ages 12 & older) and weekend matinee performances of The Circus of the Possibilitarians (for children of all ages), along with a week-long political art installation(running January 21-27, with an art opening on January 21), the sale of Bread & Puppet’s legendary Cheap Art, and the opportunity to savor Schumann’s home-made sourdough rye bread spread with garlic-laden aioli.

All the visuals are created by Schumann, including sculpting and painting of all the major masks and puppets, with input from the company. Although Bread & Puppet events have a seriousness of purpose — a few laughs are always thrown in!

The Possibilitarians, a play with live music and giant puppets, addresses present day occupiers, uprisers, and possibilitarians to learn from the 17th century diggers and levelers, and to start digging and leveling and opposing and countering the crumbling economic system and its inherited misrelation to Mother Earth, and to re-educate the disemployed hands & feet of the machine-age! Dead Man Rises is a fairytale-like life-size puppet show originally created by Bread & Puppet in the mid 60’s, most notably performed as part of the student occupation at Columbia University in New York City in 1968. After each performance, the audience is invited to join an informal talk-back with the artists, to eat home-made sourdough rye bread smeared with aioli, and to peruse the Cheap Art for sale.

The Circus of the Possibilitarians is a satirical horse and butterfly circus, addressing pertinent national and international issues in a clownish fashion, including rotten ideas, a wild dancing horse and some mellow lions, a solemn salute to the world’s casualties and much more! The Dire Circumstance Jubilation Ensemble provides a little bit of brass and plenty of noise. Please take note that even if some of the circus acts are politically puzzling to adults, accompanying kids can usually explain them. After each performance, the audience is welcome to examine all the masks and puppets and to peruse the Cheap Art for sale.

For this residency at the Cyclorama, both the evening and matinee performances will be performed by Peter Schumann, the Bread and Puppet touring company, and a large number of local volunteers and musicians, including the popular Somerville-based Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band (www.slsaps.org), which serves as the house band for Bread & Puppet’s Boston performances and is also the host band for the annual HONK! Festival (www.honkfest.org) held in October in Davis Square, Somerville.

Evening Performances [recommended for ages 12 & older]:
Bread and Puppet Theater: The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises
Jan. 24-Jan. 27, Thurs.-Sun., 7:00 p.m.
$12 general admission ($10 students, seniors, & groups)
Running time: 1 1/2 hours with a short intermission.

Family-Friendly Matinees:
Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Jan. 26 & Jan. 27, Sat. & Sun., 2:00 p.m.
$12 general admission ($10 students, seniors, & groups, $6 kids ages 3-11 [2 & under free])
Running time: 1 hour w/o intermission.

Tickets for the performances available for purchase [cash or check only] in the Cyclorama one hour before each performance. For advance tickets, log onto www.breadandpuppet.org or call 866-811-4111 (toll free). For further information regarding the week’s events, call the BCA’s Bread and Puppet Theater information line at617-286-6694 or visit www.bcaonline.org.