Bread and Puppet Circus in Cambridge Sunday

Vermont’s legendary Bread and Puppet Theater performs “The Circus of the Possibilitarians” on Cambridge Common in Massachusetts at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2. For free. We saw an earlier version of the politically satirical show, “Possibilitarian: The Complete Everything Everywhere Dance Circus,” at the theater’s home base in Glover, Vermont, on Aug. 19. Bread and Puppet’s mask and papier-mâché circuses are always fun, funny, astonishing spectaculars, but this show was an average effort, without too many sharp jokes. Acts zinged the Mars rover (“I am here in search of intelligent life and I promise I will not exploit you…to make athletic shoes…”), student loan debt, increased public education costs in Quebec, NAFTA, and the governor of Vermont. The most prominent theme was anti-wind power, which the skits barely argued, and so it came across as a not-in-my-backyard complaint about wind farms going up on northern Vermont mountain crests. Bread and Puppet’s main stated criticism is damage to birds, bats and wildlife habitat. Circuses aren’t conducive to complex discussion of alternatives, so none get addressed. But could different wind turbine siting—like, say, along mountain highways—be as effective in energy generation while reducing damage to nature? And some research suggests that birds and bats more easily avoid larger wind turbines. The upshot is that, as in last summer’s pageant, it reads as an indictment of all energy sources (except wood fires?), civilization be damned.

Photos by The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.

The outdoor natural amphitheater in Glover, Vermont.

Arrival of the ringmaster.

Above two photos: Anti-war, pro-raw milk act.

Satire of Virginia lawmakers’ attempt to require women undergo ultrasounds before having abortions–with jailed women singing: “Get politics out of our skits or we’ll give you a rectal exam. It could hurt. So consider this your final warning.”

Lions and lambs mingle peacefully during the announcement of Afghanistan War casualties.

A dance “in resistance to the imposition of English as the primary language in the public schools of Puerto Rico.”

Wind turbines as monster, long-armed skeletons.

Thrilling (papier-mâché) tiger tamer act.

Previous five photos: A complaint about “profiteers” selling natural gas, “industrial wind,” coal, “industrial soil,” hydro power, nuclear power. Bread and Puppet’s answer? “Local control of local energy.”

The show concluded with performers circling with flags and founder Peter Schumann dancing atop super-high stilts. Notably, Schumann didn’t strut out as far as usual, and had two spotters—as sign that the 78-year-old’s stilting days may be winding down.

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