539 Tremont St.
South End, Massachusetts

Bread and Puppet Theater presents “The Return of Ulysses” and “Decapitalization Circus” : two separate performances presented in partnership with the Boston Center for the Arts as part of the Cyclorama Residency Series. Performances, Art Exhibit, and Cheap Art Sale run from January 24 through January 30. All held in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA), 539 Tremont St., South End, Boston. Wheelchair accessible. Tickets for the performances available for purchase [cash or check only] in the Cyclorama one hour before each performance. For advance tickets, log onto http://www.breadandpuppet.org or call 866-811-4111 (toll free). For detailed information regarding the week’s events, call the BCA’s Bread and Puppet Theater information line at 617-800-9539 or log onto http://www.bcaonline.org.

The award-winning Bread and Puppet Theater, featuring Artistic Director Peter Schumann and his troupe of Vermont puppeteers, returns for a fifth year to the BCA’s Cyclorama bringing their signature powerful imagery, masked characters, and giant papier-mâché puppets. This year, their residency includes two different puppet performances, “The Return of Ulysses” (January 27-30, evening performances primarily for ages 12 & older), “Decapitalization Circus” (January 29-30, family-friendly matinees), along with NOLANGUAGE, a week-long political art installation (running January 24-30, with an art opening on January 24).

Although all Bread and Puppet events have a seriousness of purpose — a few laughs are always thrown in!

Detailed listings information:

Evening Performances [recommended for ages 12 & older]:
Bread and Puppet Theater: The Return of Ulysses
Jan. 27-Jan. 30, Thurs.-Sun., 7 pm
$12 general admission [$10 students, seniors, & groups of 10 or more]
Description: This "respectfully truncated," rough-hewn, and bold DIY adaptation of Claudio Monteverdi's opera was first developed this past June by Bread and Puppet in collaboration with the Theatre Department of Concordia University in Montreal and the Montreal Baroque Festival. The production was initially performed as a dress rehearsal in the DB Clarke Theatre at Concordia and then presented as a festival performance in the plaza of the Centre Mondial. During July & August in Glover, VT (Bread and Puppet’s base of operations), the opera was pared down to approximately 75 minutes, including 10 minutes of prologue. The performances have been conceived to include 20 volunteer puppeteers and 15-20 volunteer singers and instrumentalists in the chorus and orchestra with Peter Schumann playing the role of Penelope. Schumann describes the plot as follows: "In order to commit genocide on their competitors, the Trojans, the tricky Greeks employ their multitalented sky, full of custom tailored divinities, to justify the crime, just as we employ our Judeo-Christian sky, occupied by a divine air force and permitted by the in-god-we-trust court system, to justify our atrocities in Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere. By order of Jove, the boss, and with special help from his daughter Minerva, Ulysses finally returns home, where he has to murder 100 evil suitors in order to be happily reunited with wife and property." The piece includes two prologues, "Modern Sky" and "Antique Sky." For Boston, The Return of Ulysses will be performed by Peter Schumann and the Bread & Puppet Company, along with a large number of local volunteer puppeteers and musicians. Informal talk back with the artists follows each performance. Sourdough rye bread will be served and cheap art will be for sale after each performance.

Family-Friendly Matinees:
Bread and Puppet Theater: Decapitalization Circus
Jan. 29-Jan. 30, Sat.-Sun., 4 pm
$10 general admission [$5 students, seniors, and pre-school children (2 & under free)]
Description: The family-friendly "Decapitalization Circus" demonstrates in numerous death-defying stunts the fantastic effects of the capitalization of life in the U.S. and citizens’ courageous efforts of decapitalization. The performers represent the whole scale of the social spectrum from benign billionairism to despicable homeless anti-social-elementarianism. All the acts are FDA and FBI certified displays of patriotic correctness and defy all imaginable forms of terrorism. The Possibilitarians, a multi-instrumental variety ensemble, provide the appropriate-inappropriate sounds for the Circus. Performed by Peter Schumann and the Bread & Puppet Company, along with a large number of local volunteer puppeteers and musicians. Take note that some of the circus acts are politically puzzling to adults, but accompanying kids can usually explain them. The audience is welcome to examine all the masks and puppets after the performance. Cheap art will be for sale after each performance.

Visual Art Exhibit:
Bread and Puppet Theater: NOLANGUAGE, visual art installation created by Peter Schumann
Jan. 24-Jan. 30, Mon.-Sun.
Free and open to all.
Description: Bread and Puppet Theater Artistic Director Peter Schumann’s most recent visual art exploration, ranging from very large paintings to very small string booklets, which depict matters that concern us all.
Exhibit details:
--Mon., Jan. 24, 6-9 pm: opening reception, with refreshments, an art talk given by Schumann, short skits performed by the touring company, and live music performed by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra (www.bostontypewriterorchestra.com) and the Dirty Water Brass Band (www.dirtywaterbrassband.com).
--Tues.-Fri., Jan. 25-28: regular Cyclorama hours: 9am-5pm [Thursday & Friday hours extended up to and after the evening performance].
--Sat.-Sun., Jan. 29-30: one hour before and after each matinee and evening performance.

For this residency at the Cyclorama, the Bread and Puppet touring company includes Schumann, along with Maura Gahan, Greg Corbino, Maryann Colella, Susie Perkins, among others. Both the evening and matinee performances will be performed by the company and a large number of local volunteers and musicians, including the popular Somerville-based Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band (www.slsaps.org), who is the host band for the yearly HONK! Festival (www.honkfest.org) held in Davis Square.

In addition to Peter Schumann’s NOLANGUAGE art installation, the Cyclorama will also be decorated with the unique Bread and Puppet collection of powerful black-line posters, banners, masks, curtains, programs and set-props. All pieces are created by Schumann, including sculpting and painting all the major masks and puppets, with input from the company. After each evening performance there will be an opportunity to savor Schumann's famous sourdough rye bread, smeared with garlic aioli; and there will also be many opportunities during the week to purchase the theater's legendary "cheap art."

Bread and Puppet Theater is an internationally recognized company that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art that is filled with music, dance and slapstick. Its performances are political and spectacular, with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard, a brass band for accompaniment, and anti-elitist dance. Most are morality plays — about how people act toward each other — whose prototype is "Everyman". There are puppets of all kinds and sizes, masks, sculptural costumes, paintings, buildings and landscapes that seemingly breathe with Schumann's distinctive visual style of dance, expressionism, dark humor and low-culture simplicity.

Official Website: http://www.bcaonline.org

Added by marycurtin on January 7, 2011