View our video coverage of Bread and Puppet's summer 2008 Circus

The Domestic Resurrection Circus traditionally touches lightly on a whole lot of issues, some of them serious and some not. The skits are interspersed with circus-like acts. Some of these acts included dancing on stilts and puppet lions dashing through fire. Moaning cattle mourned the coming of year 2,000. Headless raincoats appeared, danced around and disappeared. No one seemed to get this one and the applause was subdued. Overhead, to add to the confusion, a media plane kept sweeping over in an obnoxious fashion, obviously taking pictures, and making it difficult for people to hear the puppeteers.

The audience's understanding seemed more tuned in to such things as Vermont's exportation of its nuclear waste to a small Texas town, Vermont's controversial Act 60 and a "friendly football match between: Mexico's Zapeteros and the the Wall Street Midgets. As in a previous year, McDonalds came in for some attention as the Wall Street Midgets tried to entice the Mexicans into NAFTA by offering little Golden Arches

A spoof on our economic times included a calf giving birth to "a bull market" and an "industrial capitalist" who became fatter and fatter as "market forces" pumped harder and harder. Despite the pumping, the industrial also needed grapes because of his hunger for ever more production. Of course, there could be only one ending to such a B&P skit. Pop! The pin was supplied by Vermont Congressman, Bernie Sanders who pulled off his mask to tell the audience that, "Together, we can create an economy that works for all of us, not just the millionaires."

New York City's mayor Rudy Guliani does not seemed to be particularly liked by Bread and Puppet. The mayor's campaign of goodness, cleanliness, law and order did not find favor here and there was a cutting spoof of a woman on stilts dressed as the Empire State building. Under her voluminous skirt hid a hid a bunch of rats. The inference seemed to be that they were Mr. Guliani's rats.

The ending of the circus seemed to have hints of a more permanent goodbye as a boat "the same boat" appeared, filled with all the puppeteers. They carried signs and sang a commemorative hymn while holding up names of people born 100 years ago. The names included Victor Hara, South American revolutionary, Bessie Smith, Sergie Eisenstein, Ghandi, George Gershwin, Emilia Erhart, Zapata, the Queen Mother and Audley Moore.



Peter Schumann's raucous dual trumpets closed the show. How much longer will he be able to perform on those high stilts was a question asked by many as they left the outdoor amphitheater.

Timothy Palmer-Benson

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View our video coverage of Bread and Puppet's summer 2008 Circus

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