Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread & Puppet Theater

May 28, 2015 @ 8:22 pm
William Benton Museum of Art
University of Connecticut
245 Glenbrook Road #2140, Storrs, CT 06269
Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread and Puppet Theater presents puppets ranging in height up to 20 feet, masks, paintings, and other works from Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater, which has left an indelible stamp on the world of theater and the American cultural landscape over the past half century.

This exhibition focuses on Bread & Puppet’s activist responses to fundamental political and social issues that have defined American culture over the past 50 years, including the war in Vietnam; Central American turmoil and Liberation Theology; the politics of black liberation as represented by the Attica prison uprising and the M.O.V.E. family in Philadelphia; opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear power; and the war in Iraq.

Since Peter Schumann began his theater on New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1963, Bread & Puppet’s combination of modernist art and performance sensibilities with the desire to address critical social and political issues has created a new form of American puppetry capable of stunning beauty and provocative questioning, in contexts ranging from city streets, town squares, and traditional theater spaces to the expansive landscape of the theater’s home in Glover, Vermont. Writing of Bread & Puppet, the poet Grace Paley asked, “Why not speak the truth directly? Just speak out! Speak up! Speak to! Why not?”