File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 96

Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2008 19:46:14 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Bread & Puppet controversy

Gina, I am sorry to hear of your travails.

What is not clear: B&P has often been "controvrsial" and I don't know if that was mentioned in preshow publicity. Someone expecting a standard kiddie show of fairy tales or puppet varieties might not be prepared for what they saw. 

It sounds like there may have been problems in communication with your local public BEFORE the show took place.

It is often useful to "warn sensitive souls" that a specific theatre piece may be offensive to some, may not be suitable to those under age such & such, may be for "mature audiences", etc. etc etc.
It is also a way of challenging an audience to decide if they are open to an alternate viewpoint on stage or not.

The history of B&P  has certainly been colorful.

When I saw them here in California at various years & locations, the audences knew why they wanted to see the performances. It does not sound like that was the case currently. While giving helpful advance information to ticket buyers is no guarantee that all individuals will pay attention, at least then, the shoe is on the other foot.

Sometimes B&P could have behaved better. Years ago, they were scherduled to perform at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood on the school LUNCH HOUR. They showed up an hour late, having spent far too much time at the beach in Santa Monica CA. They were NOT thinking about the needs of the audience. By the time they arrived on campus, half the audience had to leave to attend classes. The students were extremely disappointed, the show was well worth seeing, there was no bread baked nor served, no sense of apologies for showing up late. Not good PR for sure, and maybe a touch of arrogance and disdain similar to that of cult religions.

It was painful for me, as an advocate for puppetry and an admirer of B&P to witness such disappointment.


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