File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 227

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 23:47:35 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Puppeliticamysticart-ism.

I think one thing that the passionate responses to this thread have 
revealed is that B& P's art strikes a chord even in those whose do not 
share the stridency of their political message.

I feel that Bread & Puppet's  greatest contribution to art of puppetry 
is not so much their penchant for political idealization, but for their 
practical  consideration of how to find a place for the arts within the 
rather narrow confines provided for the arts within a global capitalist 
(ie  social order organized around the accumulation of $$$) system. 
Their strategies for uniting art-making with community organizing  and 
social empowerment is at the heart of their theatre practice. This is 
what's reflected in Schumann's "Cheap Art Manifesto" and was also the 
driving force behind the Domestic Resurrection Circuses.  It still is 
central to their work, and if people find that dangerous and subvesive, 
well it probably is.

A note of disclosure--
Next week Peter Schumann will be touring with Chinese Theatre Works to 
Taiwan, with a new work ,"Songs From the Yellow Earth," that he 
designed and directed for shadow theatre. Peter doesn't often make 
theater outside the context of Bread & Puppet (and he has never before 
worked with shadow theater). But it is interesting that even when 
working with our gang of Chinese opera artists (as apolitical a bunch 
of performers you could ever hope to find on the planet) Peter's 
essential humanistic themes shine through the piece. It has been a 
great honor build this production with him and we are looking forward 
to seeing the reaction of Taiwanese audience to its peculiar cultural 
mash-up. I do hope we get to perform it in this country as well.


On Nov 14, 2008, at 9:26 PM, Gina Gambony wrote:

>    In any time, in any place, if we are not in some struggle to move 
> society forward, we're not on the right side of history.  Being on the 
> right side of history means being a couple steps ahead of everyone and 
> getting stones thrown at your head because of it.
>   Maybe an idealist, but I think puppets are generally on the right 
> side of history :) or they somehow help us be there.
> They have been weapons and shields for the evolution of mankind.  
> Sounds a bit dramatic, but seriously, I believe that. 
> Puppeliticamysticart-ism.
> Removing coca-cola machines & junk food from schools is an 
> educational, nutritional political act.
> Anything to cut the cost of healthcare is a political act---it can be 
> done by healthier diets or by ignoring and not caring for ill 
> ciizens..
> Keeping people healthy is a political act. Breathing is a political 
> act. And recently a lot of religiosity at the polls in California has 
> been more
> political than religious, trying to demonize a minority under the veil 
> of being the only true religion (Mormon/Catholic/Evangelical Taliban).
> It would be nice if these would-be moral superiors concentrated on 
> their OWN shortcomings and argued amongst themselves about which one
> of the three had exclusive connection to their Deity (I have yet to 
> meet a Catholic who thinks Joseph Smith actually translated Golden 
> Tablets in
> New York State to produce the Book of Mormon---I have yet to meet 
> Evangelicals who think the Pope has the last word.) These three groups
> have been known to lie and cover up embarrasing facts about their own 
> histories. They have also been very critical of EACH OTHER.
> Being far from perfect themselves, they are in no position to cast 
> stones. And if they get some rocks returned, they should not be 
> surprised.
> In California, the backlash against the passing of Prop 8 (which 
> affects puppeteers I know) has just begun. Winning the vote for women,
> endured many setbacks from "the people who had spoken" and turned out 
> to have spoken wrongly. It was ALWAYS wrong. Same thing for the
> right of Black citizens to vote---all kinds of political ploys were 
> tried to maintain unfairness. When I went to my first national 
> Puppetry Festival in
> Oklahoma, public drinking fountains were still marked "white" and 
> "colored"in that state. And they were NOT equal, either ...the ones 
> for
> "colored" were older, and visibly not as good. That was 1948 (60 years 
> ago!). I wish PROGRESS did not take so long.
> Many of us welcome a new President as a step in the new, improved 
> direction.
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