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Bread and Puppet Theater Visits UCI

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The Bread and Puppet Theater returned to UCI with their fall 2022 show “Our Domestic Resurrection Circus: Apocalypse Defiance.” The political puppet theater made its 43rd stop of the traveling show at the Sculpture Garden outside Claire Trevor School of the Arts on Wednesday, Nov. 2. 

The non-profit, Vermont-based theater is traveling to multiple locations across the United States on this year’s tour. The theater comments on and spreads awareness about international political issues by adding a satiric spin to the show’s various skits. 

“Apocalypse Defiance Circus” was made up of different skits where the performers dressed up in costumes and used large puppets to create visually-rich scenes. They touched on a wide variety of political topics ranging from issues within big dairy corporations to the tensions between Palestinians and the Israeli military. 

Associate professor of directing at UCI Juliette Carrillo worked with Illuminations in order to bring the theater to campus this year. 

“They were supposed to come in 2020, and obviously they couldn’t come, and so they did a Zoom show for us, which was really fun,” Carrillo said. “They said they were going to come again, and this time, Illuminations got involved and they helped produce it.”

Kelly Alexander came from San Diego wanting her daughter to watch the show as she had around the late 80s or early 90s. Alexander had originally seen the show in Vermont where the theater is based. 

“I saw them in Vermont; it was in their big field where they do this huge circus and [it] was so exciting and just bigger than life,” Alexander said. “And then today, it was interesting because there was the same kind of energy here, even though it’s on a much smaller scale.” 

She applauded the performers for their sensitivity while tackling serious topics.

“I was really taken by how all of the performers were really into the characters that they were playing — very serious and sensitive to the material that they were presenting,” Alexander said. “The honoring of the working people and all of the people that are oppressed was really beautiful.”

Francklin Louis-Jean is a performer with the theater and has been with them for months since 2016. He highly encourages people to watch the show, saying they should “not miss it for any reason.” 

“I’d say that the Bread and Puppet Theater is a community, a community which paves humanity,” Jean said. “We are trying to teach by educating and also sensitizing people on issues not only happening in the U.S.”

At the end of every show, the Bread and Puppet Theater gives free sourdough rye bread to the audience. Jean said this is important as it is symbolic of feeding humanity. Many lined up to receive their bread after the show, with most attendees staying behind to talk to one another about the performance. 

The Bread and Puppet Theater will continue touring until Dec. 14. More information regarding future show dates and locations can be found on their website. breadandpuppet.org/tour-schedule.


Laiyla Santillan is a Campus News Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at laiylas@uci.edu.