Bread and Puppet Theater performed its “Diagonal Life Circus” at its home base in Glover, Vermont, at 3 p.m. each Sunday afternoon from July 7 to Aug. 25, 2019. I caught the last circus of the summer this past Sunday, Aug. 25.
Now Bread and Puppet’s “Fall 2019 New England Little Big Tour” brings a condensed version of the circus to towns across New England: to Big Town Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, at 6 p.m. Aug. 30; to Cambridge Common at 3 p.m. Aug. 31; to Fort Allen Park on Mayo Street in Portland, Maine, at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 1; to the Bread and Roses Labor Heritage Festival in Lawrence, Massachusetts, at 4:20 p.m. Sept. 2; to the Sanctuary at Shephardsfield in East Haddam, Connecticut, at 7 p.m. Sept. 5; to Bard College at Annendale-on-Hudson, New York, at 3 p.m. Sept. 7; and to Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts, at 3 p.m. Sept. 8.
The “Diagonal Life Circus,” as performed in Glover, was the company’s usual mix of political satire, slapstick acrobatics, and poetic musings on current events. It addressed the tactics of authoritarians; a pipeline threatening water (“water is life!”); Vermont farm workers arrested by Border Patrol officers (“Justice for migrant workers!”); and Indiana police arresting a pregnant woman who fell down stairs and Alabama police arresting a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach and charging them with endangering their unborn children. The circus honored “trans lives cut short” and celebrated the ideals of the Haitian revolution (“No person is superior to another. … Remember those left behind. … Always remember”). It featured Professor Nostradamus’s “University of Tricks”; the “International Coalition of Swimmers Against the Economic Tide” (they’re washed away by a tidal wave); a celebration of cardboard, cheerleaders against “white fragility” (“We’re in a fascist nation so get the hell offline!”); and tigers that devoured judges who’ve imposed restrictions on abortion. And the circus warned that “Leading scientists have stated that humanity has a 50 percent chance of surviving this century.”