Theater archives

Heads and Tales


Twenty-foot tall, papier-mâché puppets can do no wrong. Let them recite stilted dialogue, let their movement vocabulary be limited to a
shuffle and wave, let them read boring excerpts from The Communist Manifesto: it’s absolutely delightful. Theater that would be unbearable on a human scale is rendered extremely gratifying by the newspapered, glued, and house-painted stars of Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theater. This season, B & P— now in its 36th year— offers The Proletarians (Theater for the New City), a two-part play. In the first act, Emma Goldman (a jumbo-sized elephant) and Alexander Berkman (a Chinese dragon in suspenders) discover love and anarchy. During part two, a klezmer band plays as the rambunctious cast manipulate garish cardboard cutouts in a low-rent rendition of The Threepenny Opera. Though the performance offered by this lumpy proletariat may want for smoother pacing and a more coherent style, agitprop has rarely been such loopy fun.