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I’ve been wracking my brain. What do these have in common: a troupe of puppeteers and their paper maché, larger-than-life puppets—uproarious, irreverent, revolutionary—and a writer’s narration of physicists’ hunt for one of the tiniest particles in existence through a telescope buried at the south pole?

Aside from the fact, that is, that BigTown Gallery hosts both of these widely divergent “acts” within two days of one another—Bread & Puppet: Our Domestic Insurrection Circus on Friday, September 1 at 6 p.m., and Mark Bowen’s reading from his forthcoming book The Telescope in the Ice on Sunday, September 3, at 5:30 p.m. And the fact that both Bread & Puppet and Mark Bowen “live” in the northeast kingdom of Vermont. 

There the similarities seem to end. But I can’t let the question go—puppets in political melée and physicists pushing beyond the boundaries—ah, that’s it!—boundaries and the need to break them. Using very different means—performance on the one hand and a written narrative on the other—both performers/creators and writer celebrate the need to pull down traditional boundaries and look in and beyond at untrodden landscape, whether political or scientific, whether large or small. These artists probe the meaning of culture and the fundamental matter of the universe.

Basic questions. I guess that is what puppets and physicists have in common—the fearless, intrepid exploration of what matters—where we live, how we live, what we can do to shape our world. Hmm. Pretty important, pretty amazing.  Hope to see you in the gallery’s garden in Rochester on Friday or inside the gallery on Sunday. Both events promise to open my eyes, and yours.