Bread and Puppet begins its summer season with weekly performances of The Diagonal Life Circus & Normality Rebellion Pageant starting on July 7th. These shows explore the generic verticality that we as individuals and as a society participate in, and present the diagonal as an alternative to that verticality. According to Bread and Puppet director, Peter Schumann, “Diagonals are created from the leaning power of hurt verticals,” and the Circus & Pageant speak to this by displaying the power of hurt verticality.
The shows will be performed outdoors, with the circus occurring in a natural amphitheater made from a grown-over sand quarry and the pageant in the spaces around the top of the amphitheater, which include a pine forest and an expansive field. The circus is accompanied by live music, from fiddle to brass band and Georgian songs to Dixieland Jazz. The circus company is made up of 50-100 puppeteers, who work together to combine their skills and personal passions into many several-minute acts that, when placed back-to-back, make up the show. The pageant is a longer, more abstract piece that interacts thoughtfully with the landscape and audience to give a sense of closure after the speed and excitement of the circus.
The day begins with side-shows at 2p.m. in the circus field, with the circus field store open for purchase of posters, banners, books, and postcards. The circus begins at 3p.m., signalled by the opening brass band tunes and the traditional first flag act. After the circus at around 4p.m., audience members are directed towards the beginning of the pageant, which runs for another hour until 5p.m. At that point, fresh-baked rye bread and aioli are served in the bread house in the field, and guest performances take place in the Paper-Maché Cathedral when the museum bell rings. Throughout the day, the circus field store, museum store, and cheap art bus remain open and selling posters, banners, books, and postcards. The event in total runs from 2p.m. to around 6p.m.
Bread and Puppet begins Circus & Pageant performances alongside Friday Night Shows in the Paper Maché Cathedral, Shape-note Sings on Tuesdays, and a smattering of Circus performances in various locations around New England. All performances are by cash or check donation with no-one turned away for lack of funds. The puppet museum is open from 10a.m. to 6p.m. daily in the summer, and the museum store and cheap art bus are open and self-serve by the honor system.
The Circus & Pageant run every Sunday through August 25th at the Bread and Puppet Theater, 753 Heights Road, Glover, VT. Parking is in the circus field for the show, with accessible parking spaces available on request. Dogs are welcome if they are well-behaved and leashed, and kids generally enjoy the show as much as adults. The suggested donation for all shows is $10-20, but no-one will be turned away – we would much rather have audience members than money.