PHOTOS BY CAMBRIDGE ARTS
To put it mildly, we worship Bread and Puppet and its progressive Massachusetts Labor Day tradition. Not in an unhealthy way, but nevertheless. It must be in our Greater Boston DNA; as puppeteer Joshua Krugman informed us in 2017, “the Boston area has several long-running radical puppetry projects including the Puppeteers’ Cooperative, founded by Bread and Puppeteer Sara Peattie, and the HONK! Festival, founded by Bread and Puppeteers John Bell and Trudi Cohen.”
Besides the tradition, there’s the troupe’s compelling content, and the Bread and Puppet spectacle is like no other. In Krugman’s words, “the show is meant to shake city slickers and country cornstalks alike out of their complacency in the face of the destruction of the planet and the political and economic tyranny under which we all live.”
This year’s offering, coming to Cambridge Common this Saturday, promises “the riotous Bread and Puppet Brass Band, stilters, flags, and the whole roaring, squawking, whinnying paper-mache menagerie, attempting to speak to the urgent heart of the moment.” There will also be “sourdough rye bread with garlic aioli” and more in what the outfit is dubbing the “Diagonal Life Circus.”
Regarding this year’s incarnation, Bread and Puppet Director Peter Schumann says, “Reality is either horizontal or vertical or both. The horizontal produces us, and eventually takes us back into its giant arms’ embrace. The vertical is the exceptional human predicament, the up- and forward-striding ambition that makes history and warfare.
“The diagonal results from the hurts that the vertical suffers in the process. It is our common human fate, the hard-to-sustain-in-between life, neither up nor down that needs to muster all its strength to lift itself up and the courage to invent tricks that keep it from falling. And this trickery deserves a circus, to celebrate the inventiveness of the struggling body and mind in the fight against falling, as well as a victory feast for the successful lifting itself up.”
BREAD & PUPPET THEATER PRESENTS ‘DIAGONAL LIFE CIRCUS.’ SAT 8.31, 3PM. CAMBRIDGE COMMON.