Workshop, performance in Belfast

Bread & Puppet Theater on the Midcoast

Apr 14, 2018
The renowned Bread & Puppet Theater brings its title and more in “The Basic Byebye Show,” presented at Belfast’s Crosby Center Friday night, April 27.

Belfast — Waterfall Arts is bringing the acclaimed Bread & Puppet Theater to the Midcoast for a workshop Thursday and performance Friday, April 26 and 27.

Bread & Puppet Theater is an internationally celebrated company that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art filled with music, dance and slapstick. Its shows are political and spectacular, with huge puppets made of papier-maché and cardboard. Founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side, the theater has been based in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont since the early 1970s.

On Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Bread & Puppet will offer a cantastoria workshop at Waterfall Arts, 256 High St. Cantastoria is a street theater form championed by Bread & Puppet Theater that involves the performance of pictures through the use of song, movement, text and puppetry. The word comes from Italian (“sung story”), although the form has its roots in India circa 600 AD and has flourished in various guises all over Europe and Asia for the last 1,500 years.

In this three-hour workshop, the Bread & Puppet company will perform a cantastoria. Participants will then put the experiences of watching and performing to work toward making their own cantastorias in small groups. Bread & Puppet finds cantastoria to be an extremely effective tool for activist street performance and loves to share it widely. Cost of the workshop is $45. Scholarships are available.

Doors will open 6:30 p.m. Friday for the 7 p.m. performance of a new Bread & Puppet play, “The Basic Byebye Show,” at the Crosby Center, 96 Church St. General admission tickets are $15, $12 for Waterfall Arts members.

“The Basic Byebye Show” is described as a manifesto on transformation, inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s apocalyptic woodcuts, Brahms’ “Four Serious Songs” and the daily news. In “The Basic Bye-bye Show,” a series of quiet object fantasies unfolds in black, white and gray inside a fabric stage printed with elementary words "Resist," "Bread," "Yes," "Sky," "Riot" and "Byebye."

Outside, an orchestra of nonsense instruments arises, spins and recedes. A birch forest grows. Sculpted clouds produce hands, chairs and rain. The storm passes. The episodes that make up “The Basic Byebye Show” develop in abstract counterpoint to periodic handkerchief-assisted "basic byebyes."

After the performance, Bread & Puppet will serve its famous free sourdough rye bread with aioli; and Bread & Puppet’s Cheap Art books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread and Puppet Press will be for sale. The Bread & Puppet Practitioners-of-the-Pursuit-of-What Brass Band will welcome the public.

Tickets to the performance and workshop registration information can be found at waterfallarts.org or by calling the arts center at 338-2222.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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