File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 132

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 11:00:04 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Bread Puppet addition

I am sorry Gina for what you are going through.  Good Luck. I got to
work for Gina one day this summer and she is doing an amazing job
there.  I would say that ultimately the board or who ever at the top
of decision making who brought in B & P didn't do their homework.  I
could have predicted that B &P would be contraversial to many in
Wilmington.  B & P are not shy about putting their views in your face.
 They are extremely political and it was ignorant of the board to just
sign  off on anything he or she brings in with out checking it out.
I heard a story 2nd hand about B&P being pulled from the stage in
Spain for being politically blunt about the train bombings saying
something to the extent that the Spainish brought it on or deserved it
or something like that.  Their audience and the theater staff were
outraged.  I say again that is 2nd hand.  After hearing the story and
the context I have come to the conclusion That B&P lack any sense of
tact and that is their privledge and perhaps their artistic mission.
I know I can't afford offending audiences.   B&P have very strong
views and put them out there.  I find their theatricallity and and
spectacle amazing, but have always parted favor with their over the
head with a sledge hammer method of delivering a "message".  I am
pretty liberal and probably agree with most of what they are saying,
but consider their drama crude.  It is the sort of thing that feels
like preaching to the choir on the one hand and then throwing up
gasoline and matches to anyone of differing view.  I just don't get
into the polarization they seem to be into.  I don't put bumber
stickers on my car, I just vote.  I consider B & P  important  in
puppetry.  Their work has spawned a distinct  branch on tree of
American puppetry.  But it is political theater.
As for pulling any act off stage, it is censorship, and it is the
right of any theater to pull an act off.  It's their money.  If they
pay you then whats the problem.  For Bread and Puppets to cry
censorship sounds silly to me.   It sounds like a gig well done if
they've managed to offend their sponsor and half the audience.
They seem disingenuos in calling their work approriate for "family
audience" without a very striong recommendationand advice to their
sponsor's patrons that "they will present views that will offend some"
It should have been clear to them that many sponsors wouldn't
appreciate an overtly  politcal show for families and it might be in
their favor to clue them  in.   Perhaps they did and it was over
looked.  Presenting B & P without an understanding of their work and
then not highlighting that as a feature is not the way to present B
&P.  Audiences need to see their work, but they should be invited and
clued in.  I would think B & P would get tired of being
misinterpreted.  Again, totally their choice.

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 5:06 PM, malgosia askanas <> wrote:
> John wrote:
>>It is interesting to me that a sign simply listing the numbers of dead
>>from the Iraq War can be considered information unfit for children (or
>>adults) to see.  The act presenting that information does not dwell in
>>violence, or condemn one side or another (at least in the versions I saw
>>this past summer).  Instead, in the middle of an otherwise lyrical music
>>and movement piece, a cardboard sign appears listing the numbers of the
>>dead, not only Americans, whom we sometimes hear about, although with
>>increasing infrequency, but also Iraqis.   Why exactly should children
>>in the United States not see this information?  What functions are
>>served by keeping this information secret, from both children and
> John, can we poke this a little?  The information is obviously not
> unfit for either children or adults, but imagine this: you go to a
> performance of "Romeo and Juliet", and in the middle of the balcony
> scene a cardboard sign appears listing the number of unborn children
> that get killed every year through abortion.   Would you consider
> this as purely informational?  Me no, I would feel that I had been
> inducted into the show under false pretenses, and deceptively made to
> give my money to something I  find objectionable.   Unless there were
> mitigating circumstances, I would most likely walk out and demand my
> money back.
> I would certainly not react this way if the cardboard sign listed,
> instead, the number of mushrooms that spring up in the US after every
> rain.  So there is information and there is information.
> -m
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