Rehearsing with Gods
Photographs and Essays on The Bread & Puppet Theater
Foreword by Grace Paley
Like its subject, Rehearsing with Gods is an instrument of extravagant joy, celebration, wonder, and hope. It is a book to savor slowly, as it doubly rewards us with meditative sensuality and contemplative stimulation.
—David M. Kaslow, Arts Correspondent, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
2004 ForeWord Magazine Silver Medal Winner in Performing Arts/Drama
Peter Schumann and his Bread & Puppet Theater are likely the most important, and surely the longest-lasting, contributors to modern American theater history. Since the early sixties Schumann and his puppeteers have been pouring out work after work on every scale: political works, mysterious works, grand works, modest works, works on the street and works in fields, works to be played in every size theater on four continents, books, prints, posters, and banners which live as show-and-tell in so many homes.
Now Ron Simon and Marc Estrin, a remarkable photographer, and a long-time puppeteer, who have each in his own way contributed to the shows, recorded events, and reflected on them. Out of their experiences they have created Rehearsing with Gods: Photographs and Essays on the Bread & Puppet Theater.
Far more than history or documentation, they identify eight archetypes engaged repeatedly by Peter Schumann and his crew. Their book consists of parallel meditations—the texts not commenting on the photos, the photos not illustrating the texts—unified and intertwined by the chapter themes of Death, Fiend, Beast, Human, World, Gift, Bread, and Hope.
Altogether, it's a collaboration that reflects their sixty-odd man-years of personal experience in, hidden narratives of, and speculative reflections on Peter Schumann's projects, ever-more relevant to our times. This is a book that will engage both fans and newcomers—an inside-view of Peter Schumann's political-artistic world.