Diagonal Life: Theory and Praxis

 

“Diagonals are created from the leaning power of hurt verticals,” says Peter Schumann, founder and director of Bread and Puppet Theater.

 

We inhabitants of Western modernity are no strangers to verticality, from the architecture of our cities, to the “ladder(s) of success” we’re asked to scale, to the incessant wakefulness required of us, postponing the horizontal pleasures of sleep. Bread and Puppet’s Diagonal Life presents the diagonal as a potent and promising opposition to the dominating verticality of our culture. Puppeteers long ago realized that the most aesthetically radical movements for puppets are diagonals, because these movements are cannot be sustained by human actors or dancers for more than a moment. (Gymnasts upsidedown themselves frequently and with ease, but diagonal positions remain inaccessible without the use of puppet.)

 

Diagonal Life brings all the bewildering, beguiling, and downright funny possibilities and implications of diagonality to life with song, dance, magic, mechanism, and stunning cardboard and paper maché puppets painted in Peter Schumann’s exuberant, slapdash expressionist style.

 

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