Bread and Puppet Theater pulled into Middletown in their funky full-sized school bus late last night and they will be here until Monday morning. The nine puppeteers are staying with the Middletown Theater Company ARTFARM as the second part of an artistic exchange between the two groups. And there are ways that you can join some of the fun while they’re in town! For free!
Today both companies are spending the day in residence at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. Tonight Bread and Puppet will be giving a free public performance at the school at 7:30 pm of “The Fifty Years Cabaret”. The Cabaret consists of five short shows created at various times in the iconic theater company’s fifty year history. Reserve your free seats at www.kingswoodoxford.org.
Sunday, however, is the day to join the action in Middletown. From noon to 5 pm, the two companies will collaborate to offer a unique Community Workshop focused on Creating Original Issue-Oriented Work. Called Arse Kicking Puppetry, Ding Dongs and the Radical Farming of Art, the workshop will share techniques that each of the Companies have developed to create new theater work. Participants will act, write, move, make music and ultimately create several short new pieces to share with the public at 4:30 pm. The fee for the workshop is $50, and there are a few places still available. To claim a spot, email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can. Theater experience is not required – this workshop wants and includes a diverse community of visual artists, educators, activists, musicians, poets, dancers and just plain folks (18 or over) with something to say and a desire to gain tools to help you be heard.
The Curious, but perhaps less adventurous, may prefer to just come see the workshop’s final outcome, The Arse Kicking Free Show at 4:30 pm. The show, made up of very fresh, locally-grown material, should be entertaining as well as thought-provoking. The show is free, but the groups will pass a hat.
Both the Workshop and Show take place at The Barn at Prout Hill, a partially renovated barn with a little platform stage behind it at 64 Prout Hill Road. The venue, owned by Middletown musician and sculptor Michael Pestel, is charming and evocative, absolutely beautiful at this time of year. It is, however, outdoors, and it is the end of October, so dress warmly! Then share some apples and cider with us after the show.
Made possible by a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters, this collaboration is a rare theatrical event, one of those cool and unique things that make Middletown “an arts town” and a great place to live. Come be there as it happens. Come join the fun.