Together: Touring Bread and Puppet

It has been discussed that puppeteers are human beings with emotions and thoughts of their own, beyond what is shown on stage. In this project I documented the daily life of Bread and Puppet, a radical puppetry company based on Vermont, USA, during their 5-week Spring Tour in 2017. The 15-member company traveled in a school bus throughout the northeast of the United States, presenting their show Faust 3, a colorful rumination on modern life. While the company’s prolific creative output has been widely documented during their 54 years of existence, little attention has been paid to what takes place between performances or to the puppeteers themselves. Do puppeteers sleep, smile or eat?

My work focuses on the life of communities and collective efforts that unite people with a common goal. Bread and Puppet relies in a collectivist, horizontal model of decision-making and existence which is important to explore in times when social atomism is proposed as solution to our collective problems. This project is a continuation of my ongoing project of documenting the company and it’s tied to other projects involving creative communities.  

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Glover, Vermont. March 22, 2017. Rehearsal started the last week of March at the company's headquarters in Glover, Vermont.

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Meriden, New Hampshire. March 31, 2017. A funny moment during a rehearsal before a show at Kimball Academy.

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Marlboro, Vermont. April 1, 2017. An impromptu snow battle broke out at Malboro College.

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North Adams, Massachusetts. April 6, 2017. From the very beginning the group developed a strong cohesion, which reflected, according to many, in the performances.

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Putney, Vermont. April 8, 2017. Props,

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Great Barrington, Massachusetts. April 12, 2017. Bread and Puppet uses accessible materials to create meaning within their performances.  A plastic sheet turns into a wave, a metaphor for uprising.

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Hudson, New York. April 14, 2017. A momento before one of the characters enters into scene.

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Pipersville, New Jersey. April 15, 2017. The school bus carried 13 puppeteers, props, personal luggage and food that was prepared at different stages during the tour.  Conveniently, it also had a couch, occasionally used for naps.

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Pipersville, New Jersey. April 15, 2017. At the end of each show bread with aioli was served. Peter Schumman, the creative director, believes that theater and bread should go together.

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire. April 24, 2017. A mother, a 14-year old and a 10-year old were part of the company and drove in a smaller bus. 

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire. April 24, 2017.  In most cases food was provided by the host venues, but in occasions the people in charge of food will prepare meals for the company.

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Blue Hill, Maine. April 27, 2017.  In venues where the show was for one night, the company had to pack all props onto the bus. Next morning, if not a day off, everything will start again: setting up stage, rehearsal and presentation.

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Bar Harbor, Maine. April 28, 2017. An instance of peace and quiet between performances.

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Bar Harbor, Maine. April 29, 2017. Rehearsing of a scene that required a particular energy.

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Bar Harbor, Maine. April 29, 2017. The company participated in residencies in various school/colleges, in which students were part of the show in various secondary roles.

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Farmington, Maine. May 1, 2017. An intimate moment the last day of the tour, before driving back to Glover, Vermont.

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