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Bread & Puppet Theater celebrating its 50th anniversary with events in the Cyclorama

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Bread and Puppet Theater presents The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises (recommended for ages 12 & older), along with The Circus of the Possibilitarians (family-friendly), as it embarks on its 50th anniversary of presenting in-earnest socio-political puppetry.

Performances and Cheap Art Sale run January 24 through 27, as well as an Art Exhibit running the week of January 21 through January 27. All held in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA), conveniently located near the MBTA Orange Line & bus connections. Tickets for the performances available for purchase [cash or check only] in the Cyclorama one hour before each performance. For advance tickets, log onto http://www.breadandpuppet.org or call 866-811-4111 (toll free). For further information regarding the week’s events, call the BCA’s Bread & Puppet Theater information line at 617-286-6694 or visit http://www.bcaonline.org.

“The audience of cynical New Yorkers in attendance … audibly responded to the beauty and pathos in these simple puppets. We collectively gasped with pleasure and awe as a giant puppet descended as if from the sky and hovered over us, very nearly within our reach ... we are still willing to step into this allegorical world and be transported. In fact, we long for it.”
[New York Theatre Review, review of the recent NYC run of The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises, Dec. 2012]

Commencing its 50th anniversary, the long-standing award-winning Vermont-based Bread & Puppet Theater, featuring Artistic Director Peter Schumann and his troupe of puppeteers, returns for its 6th annual visit to the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, bringing their signature powerful imagery, masked characters, and giant papier-mâché puppets.

This year, the one week residency includes the evening double bill of The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises  and weekend matinee performances of The Circus of the Possibilitarians (for children of all ages), along with a week-long political art installation (running January 21-27, with an art opening on January 21), the sale of Bread & Puppet’s legendary Cheap Art, and the opportunity to savor Schumann’s home-made sourdough rye bread spread with garlic-laden aioli.

All the visuals are created by Schumann, including sculpting and painting of all the major masks and puppets, with input from the company. Although Bread & Puppet events have a seriousness of purpose — a few laughs are always thrown in!

Detailed listings information:

Evening Performances [recommended for ages 12 & older]:
Bread and Puppet Theater: The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises
Jan. 24-Jan. 27, Thurs.-Sun., 7:00 pm
$12 general admission ($10 students, seniors, & groups)
Running time: 1 1/2 hours with a short intermission.
Description:
The Possibilitarians, a play with live music and giant puppets, addresses present day occupiers, uprisers, and possibilitarians to learn from the 17th century diggers and levelers, and to start digging and leveling and opposing and countering the crumbling economic system and its inherited misrelation to Mother Earth, and to re-educate the disemployed hands & feet of the machine-age! Dead Man Rises is a fairytale-like life-size puppet show originally created by Bread & Puppet in the mid 60's, most notably performed as part of the student occupation at Columbia University in New York City in 1968. After each performance, the audience is invited to join an informal talk-back with the artists, to eat home-made sourdough rye bread smeared with aioli, and to peruse the Cheap Art for sale.

Family-Friendly Matinees:
Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Jan. 26 & Jan. 27, Sat. & Sun., 2:00 pm
$12 general admission ($10 students, seniors, & groups, $6 kids ages 3-11 [2 & under free])
Running time: 1 hour w/o intermission.
Description:
The Circus of the Possibilitarians is a satirical horse and butterfly circus, addressing pertinent national and international issues in a clownish fashion, including rotten ideas, a wild dancing horse and some mellow lions, a solemn salute to the world's casualties and much more! The Dire Circumstance Jubilation Ensemble provides a little bit of brass and plenty of noise. Please take note that even if some of the circus acts are politically puzzling to adults, accompanying kids can usually explain them. After each performance, the audience is welcome to examine all the masks and puppets and to peruse the Cheap Art for sale.

Visual Art Exhibit:
Bread and Puppet Theater: 50th anniversary visual art installation created by Peter Schumann.
Jan. 21-Jan. 27, Mon.-Sun.
Free and open to all.
Description:  Bread and Puppet Theater Artistic Director Peter Schumann’s most recent visual art exploration which speaks to matters that concern us all.
Exhibit details:
—Mon., Jan. 21, 6:00-8:00 pm: 50th anniversary opening reception, with refreshments, a fiddle talk given by Schumann, short skits, and music performed by the touring company along with local musicians.
—Tues.-Fri., Jan. 22-25: regular Cyclorama hours: 9:00 am-5:00 pm [Thursday & Friday hours extended up to and after the evening performances].
—Sat. & Sun., Jan. 26 & 27: one hour before and after each matinee and evening performance.

For this residency at the Cyclorama, both the evening and matinee performances will be performed by Peter Schumann, the Bread and Puppet touring company, and a large number of local volunteers and musicians, including the popular Somerville-based Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band (http://www.slsaps.org), which serves as the house band for Bread & Puppet’s Boston performances and is also the host band for the annual HONK! Festival (http://www.honkfest.org) held in October in Davis Square, Somerville, MA.

BRIEF BACKGROUND ON BREAD & PUPPET THEATER

Bread & Puppet Theater is one of the oldest and most unique theatrical companies in the United States. The theater champions a visually rich slapstick style of street-theater that is filled with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard, combined with masked characters, improvisational dance movement, political commentary, and a lively brass band for accompaniment. The company’s performances are described by The New York Times as "a spectacle for the heart and soul."

Bread & Puppet is based on a large farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. It was founded by Peter Schumann, German born artist-dancer, in 1963 in New York City and is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-sustaining theatrical companies in this country. http://www.breadandpuppet.org

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