(Daniel Gold’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/12.)
Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet company, a staple of the Off Off Broadway calendar for 40 years, is a refreshing reminder of the vitality and power of street theater. Part carnival, part protest, all pageant, Bread and Puppet productions express political outrage and satire, sometimes coarse and raw.
Using outsize papier-mâché heads and intricate masks and costumes, the shows offer a funhouse-mirror reality. Narration is barked through a megaphone, and words are usually secondary to the music: loud beats of a drum, cymbal or gong, backing Mr. Schumann’s screechy violin and razzy kazoo. Plots are mostly sketchy, but images nestle firmly in memory. There isn’t a lot of nuance in a cartoon.