GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—Bard College at Simon’s Rock invites the community to campus for Bread and Puppet Theater Company’s The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus, Thursday, September 13, at 5:30 p.m.

This outdoor performance on the back lawn of the Daniel Arts Center is a celebration of 6,000 generations of human revolution against human management, featuring giant dwarves and celestial grasshoppers, and powered as always by the hot sounds of the Bread and Puppet Circus Band.

Attendance is free; Bread and Puppet’s traditional bread and aioli will be served after all shows.

Bread and Puppet, founded in 1963, is an internationally celebrated theater company based in Glover, Vermont that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art filled with music, dance, and slapstick. Its shows are political and spectacular, and feature huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard. While remaining a family friendly show, Bread and Puppet’s work incorporates political protest and engagement into everything they do.

Peter Schumann, Bread and Puppet’s director, says: “The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus is a circus of ruthless critique of 6,000 years of unhuman history and the uprisings against it, from the battle of Sempach in 1386, when 1,300 peasant women and men, equipped with pitchforks and hayrakes overthrew a 4,000-strong state-of-the-art army of knights, to the current battles in which ridiculously small numbers of possibilitarians underthrow—from the toes up—the incompetent billionaire democracy again and again.”

Since before the Vietnam War, Bread and Puppet Theater has been at the cutting edge of left-wing protest movements. But theirs is as much a moral quest as a political one, and the protesting, rather than screaming and violence, employs its unique art form gently.

Throughout the summer, full-length shows are presented Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons through August 24; this year’s titles are Out-of-Joint Hamlet and Grasshopper Rebellion.

Unlike most political theater, Bread and Puppet reverts to an earlier era, a much earlier one. In fact, Schumann combined his political aesthetic with the forms and traditions of Medieval passion plays, the Bible, fairy tales, and other folkloric storytelling. Music also plays a role, from Bach to folk. The shows are marked with simplicity, and with paper maché, burlap, twine, and staples literally holding the puppets and the shows together.

Consistent with its politics, Bread and Puppet is not beholden to anyone. Accepting no government or corporate money, it depends upon performance fees, press sales, donations, and lots of volunteering. Its approach celebrates frugality and self-reliance, traditions of its chosen state of Vermont.

Schumann explains the motivation for Grasshopper Rebellion: “The present-day absurd consequence of 6,000 generations of the mythical beast that calls itself human can’t be the final act of humanity’s performance. There must be more, more rebellion and more detachment from human privilege and catastrophe, and more counter proposals for anti-brutality solutions. The grasshoppers show us on any summer day many such proposals.”

For more information, email or call 413-528-7400.

(press release and image sent to WSBS from Bard College at Simon's Rock for online/on-air use)

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