With a Cantata, a Mass and a Circus, Vermont's famed Bread and Puppet Theatre ends its annual return to New York City Feb. 20 at the Theatre for the New City. Performances began Feb. 9. Bread and Puppet founder Peter Schumann directs. The first piece, the adult-oriented Need Cantata & Insurrection Mass and Funeral March for Rotten Ideas, delves into human wants, desires, religion and ideas. The Cantata pits two paper mache populations, one naked and one formally dressed, against one another in an examination of the seven basic human needs from shelter to self-actualization. The Mass and Marches is a nonreligious ceremony held in the presense of several paper mache gods who preside over secular scripture readings, a fiddle sermon, hymns and the burial of a political or economic idea that needs to be forgotten.
The Bread and Puppet Circus features an entire menagerie including giant apes, tigers and horses intermingling with storytellers and stilt walkers while a brass band plays. One fable-telling segment even involves several children audience members in the creation of the story.
Tickets are $10 and $5 for children under 12. The Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets. For reservations, call (212) 254-1109.
-- By Christine Ehren