Saturday, December 10, 2016
Bread and Puppet Theater presents The Whatforward Circus! at the Theater for the New City
Back by popular demand for the first two weeks in December at the Theater for the New City, 155 1st Avenue, New York, Theater for the New City presents the internationally acclaimed Bread and Puppet Theater! Bread and Puppet makes its annual return to New York with The Whatforward Circus, in which a group of stoneage technology puppeteers, brass players, and percussionists check out the prominent forwardmoving passions and politics of our capitalist culture, and make real and unreal against-the-grain proposals to identify and fight the anonymous monster, the big fat Wrong; complete with Mongolian hordes, singing toilets and stilted flying businessmen!
The “Whatforward Circus,” a nearly 60-minute cavalcade of vibrant circus animal puppet acts, delightful dances, and appearances by such performers as Fritz the Magnificent, Genghis Khan, and representatives from Pluto.
Of course, this is Bread and Puppet, for whom theater and politics is as essential a pairing as the bread and aioli they serve after every performance. In this circus, a seemingly simple dance by a trio of monster puppets with outsize heads becomes an indictment of the United Nations’s unwillingness to provide reparations for the thousands of Haitians infected with cholera by water the UN provided; or a hilarious dancercise class actually illustrates how Puerto Rico is being crushed by US colonization.
Founder and artistic director Peter Schumann once again creates vibrant and evocative clouds, waves, animals, and trees from the simplest combinations of color and papier mache. The “Whatforward Circus” represented a collection of wins and losses in Bread and Puppet’s chronicle of social justice in the United States, ranging from the murder of a Honduran activist to a shoutout in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. But certainly one of the standouts was the chorus line of toilets that performed a kick line, complete with flipping toilet lids rather than top hats, to decry South Carolina’s attempt to limit transgender access to bathrooms.
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