File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 111


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 12:52:41 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Bread Puppet addition


I wish I could say that I'm surprised puppeteers can analyse this issue with 
more intelligence than the Suits, but alas, I cannot.  I'm not surprised at 
all :)

To clarify a couple of issues:  I was totally familiar with the troupe and 
had planned the "family show" (advertised as being for all ages) for schools 
and the "grown-up show" (called Storm Office) as an evening performance for 
ages 16+.  I have seen B&P at a nearby town (Burgaw) perform their family 
circuses WITHIN the school system, and the shows were incredibly tame-still 
smart, but not in-your-face political.  I had not seen this specific circus, 
but assumed it would as family-friendly as the others that have been playing 
in Burgaw, a more rural, more conservative locale.

A couple days after the fiasco I learned from the teacher in Burgaw that she 
had tight control over the acts presented when she had them in the 
system...so...even though I do not claim ignorance, the experience I had 
held some hidden factors of which I was unaware.

I was disappointed that the troupe said the show was "family-friendly, but 
not for elementary school students" for several reasons, including my 
difficulty wrapping my brain around what exactly that means.  Our audience 
was apparent (house lights up the whole time), and if they truly believed it 
was not appropriate for these kids, I wish they would have omitted the acts.

While I did facilitate and participate in the pre-show workshops, I did not 
see the skits that caused the controversy.  I found a space for them (and me 
and the workshoppers-ages 9-50ish) to perform the whole circus after they 
left the theatre and after seeing the whole thing I realized why the show 
had been stopped when it was (a sign that had the number of troops and 
civilians killed in Iraq).

After saying all this, I still support the work they do, and they were kind 
and wonderful people.  I do not agree that the show was inappropriate for 
elementary school kids.  Some of the description put forth by the Offended 
individucal was over-blown or down-right untrue.  I am a strong proponent of 
critical thinking, which is why I recently left my teaching position in the 
public school system.  Of course "appropriate" is entirely debatable, but in 
this neck of the woods I would have asked them to remove a couple of skits 
just to save our own teeth-but not because of legitimate inappropriateness.

The worst part of it in the end is that my boss had skepticism about 
inviting the troupe in the first place; I convinced him otherwise, basing my 
advocacy on what I saw in Burgaw.  This was clearly a mistake on my part, 
although I'm still contemplating just how this got so crazy.  My board of 
directors meets tomorrow and I will learn my fate!  Either way, I'm still 
committed to the puppetization of my town, which will have amazing 
by-products, including critical thinking and happiness.

BTW I have the cheap art manifesto framed (which is kind of funny) in my 
home office, and a picture of Peter Schumann in my work office! 

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