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Ian Thal

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Blogs by Ian Thal

Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XIII
1/12/2004 6:46:35 PM
More of the "Victory Over Everything Circus."


As with the evening show, I never see the Kaspars make their appearances. I only hear the crashing cymbals and grunts as they bash each other over the heads and Vasilios narrates the thinly veiled allegories about the consumer demand and the power grid and a morality play about the superpower, the bombshell and the world community. I miss some skit involving French speaking grasshoppers, another horse act that uses some medieval Georgian Orthodox hymn, and a bit about the National Nation Construction Company.

From the wings I manage to see a little of John Bell captaining the S.S. No Child Left Behind while playing the role of George W. Bush but I only get this viewing because he is sufficiently downstage as Isaac and I sneak past the band so that we can emerge from under the stage in the Weapons of Mass Destruction skit.

We burst onto the stage in our Victory hats and shining flashlights while shouting "hup hup hup hup!" I deliberately target faces in the audience with my flashlight as Eddie discovers a large cardboard thing center stage. He announces it is a suspected mobile weapons lab and we suddenly rise to attention from our hypervigilant stances and chant: "We're done! We've won! We found the smoking gun! Huh!"

After a great comic exchange between Eddie and Justin which they must have developed on the road over many months, the cardboard flat of the weapons lab is pulled back to reveal not chemical weapons, not biological weapons, but a radiant Lydia and her accordian. Her fellow accordianists in and they ambush us from all sides and play "You are my sunshine!" Isaac and I retreat back under the stage.

In another scene I play the rump of a zebra of consumer confidence. Rose is our trainer and tests our consumer confidence by asking us how many thousands we've spent shopping. Most of the choreography is handled by my front half who stomps her foot in a stylized manner. I keep myself amused by swishing my tail when standing still or practicing various ballet rudiments as we prance about. Our over confidence leads to an economic collapse as our zebra costumes pulled back to reveal six figures in prisoner stripes with stylish shopping bags over their heads. We shamble off stage in cardboard shackles.

In another scene we strut onto the stage flexing muscles as circus strong men with threatening grimaces and victory hats, a child rushes out from between our legs and with a single punch fells us like a line of dominoes.

As with the Oratorio, the Victory Over Everything Circus ends with a final battle as we sing Tantum Ergo Sacramentum. The matinee show's battle is something of a parody of the evening show's battle. Once again we wear our Victory hats, but add the sort of bad business jackets, ties, and dark slacks that make us look like Republican politicians.

We enter through the victory arches propped against the backstage curtain singing the hymn. I try to stay behind John because he knows the song well and we have the same vocal range. We wave and flash various hand gestures to the audience; ones that everyone now knows from seeing politicians on television vying for the ever important photo op: waving the open palm, flashing a V for victory (politicians never flash peace signs), giving the thumbs up, the trigger finger snap and point, and the two handed versions of these, all while smiling, winking, and nodding with confidence. Rose and Lydia take the front of the stage as Eddie, Justin, and Vasilios form the press corps down below. Every question regarding "the recipe for peace" is met with political duck speak about cooperation and working together. We return to singing and start to approach our colleagues in the other party. As the verse comes to an end we shake hands for the photo op and take an immobility as the press conference resumes. As we resume singing we begin to brawl in slow motion: strangling each other with our ties, punching and kicking each other, wrestling one another to the ground, pouncing, and defending against such attacks. I use my knowledge of not just slapstick comedy but of karate and tai chi to create attacks and defenses in this scene. I am one mean Republican juggernaut in my ill fitting suit. We keep freezing as the press conference continues and Rose and Lydia are also in various stages of fighting, still answering questions even as they are at each other's throats. Eventually we are all dead and the press conference is over. Tom comes out through the Victory arch dressed as a raven and caws. This sound brings us back to life and we adjust our ties, hats, and jackets as we exit, still trying to get that last photo-op.

Then, as with the Possibilitarian Circus, we end by parading through the audience with our flags while Peter dances around on stilts in his Great American costume.




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More Blogs by Ian Thal
• September 2007 Blog - Saturday, October 06, 2007
• August 2007 Blog Index - Sunday, September 02, 2007
• July 2007 Blog Index: - Wednesday, August 01, 2007
• June 2007 Blog Index - Monday, July 02, 2007
• May 2007 Blog Index - Wednesday, May 30, 2007
• The Adventures of CMYK - Tuesday, May 01, 2007
• April Madness - Tuesday, May 01, 2007
• Walt Whitman and I - Friday, April 20, 2007
• Breaking with Bread and Puppet - Thursday, April 12, 2007
• American Dissident Outs Stalinist Clown! - Saturday, February 24, 2007
• The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Wednesday, January 03, 2007
• My First Feature Film Shoot - Monday, September 04, 2006
• Into the Station” at Boston City Hall - Saturday, July 08, 2006
• Becoming Fire - Friday, June 09, 2006
• Bill and Ian See Blue Man Group - Monday, April 17, 2006
• An Open Letter to Stephen Schwartz - Monday, April 03, 2006
• My Quarrel with The Weekly Standard's Stephen Schwartz - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• Bread & Puppet Journal, 2005 - Thursday, December 29, 2005
• Teaching mime with Open Air Circus - Friday, August 05, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VIII - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VII - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VI - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part V - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IV - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part III - Friday, December 24, 2004
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part II - Friday, December 24, 2004
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part I - Friday, December 24, 2004
• The Dresden Dolls show - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Waltzing to War @ Out of the Blue - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Word Play on SCAT - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Autographs & Interviews - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Beacon Hill Panorama @ All Asia Café - Monday, October 04, 2004
• Trip to Providence - Monday, October 04, 2004
• Interview in Providence Phoenix - Thursday, September 02, 2004
• Activists Vs. Artists - Friday, July 30, 2004
• James Van Looy Interview - Thursday, May 20, 2004
• The Perils of a Political Humorist - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• On Display - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• Whimsy: 4/29/2004 - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• Self Criticism - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• From The Archives: A Misreading - Tuesday, March 09, 2004
• Our National Anthem/Back in the USA - Friday, January 30, 2004
• Notes on the Confederacy/Back in the USA - Friday, January 30, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Epilogue - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XVII - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XVI - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XV - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XIV - Tuesday, January 20, 2004
•  Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XIII - Monday, January 12, 2004  
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XII - Monday, January 12, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XI - Monday, January 12, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part X - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IX - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VIII - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VII - Saturday, December 20, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VI - Tuesday, December 16, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part V - Tuesday, December 16, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IV - Monday, December 15, 2003
• Two Weeks With Bread & Puppet Theater: Part III - Sunday, December 14, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part II - Friday, December 12, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part I - Friday, December 12, 2003
• Flux Concert & Lunar Eclipse - Friday, November 28, 2003
• Squawkings, Hexings and Sonny Holiday - Sunday, November 02, 2003
• On Groupies and Bloggers: Part II: The Blogger - Monday, October 27, 2003
• On Groupies and Bloggers: Part I: The Groupie - Monday, October 27, 2003
• First Ballet Lesson - Sunday, October 26, 2003
• Economics of Art - Wednesday, August 13, 2003
• An artist at work - Tuesday, August 05, 2003
• Performance @ Large - Tuesday, August 05, 2003
• Friday, July 18th, 2003: - Sunday, July 27, 2003
• Trip to NYC, part II - Sunday, July 20, 2003
• Trip to NYC, part I - Sunday, July 20, 2003


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