Bread & Puppet Theater brings Apocalypse Defiance Circus to Freecycles
By: Asa Thomas Metcalfe
Hear the Audio Interview Below
Bread & Puppet Theater has been a staple in the New England community since they first performed at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont 52 years ago. The troupe’s unique brand of vaudeville puppet, minimalist musical, and live-action performance have garnered them an endearing fanbase throughout the years.
This is not the first time the Apocalypse Defiance CIrcus has toured the nation, and they make sure to stop in Missoula each time. But this was the first tour since COVID and audiences here in the Garden City were ecstatic. They filled the yard behind Freecycles and even swarmed the rooftop for good vantage points. There were audience members of all ages, and it’s safe to say that the community will turn out again when Bread & Puppet is able to return.
After the show I spoke with Paul Beddard and Ellora Stone, two puppeteers who helped perform and this book this year’s national tour.
AM: How long have you been on this tour?
PB: We left right before Labor Day and we will stay on the road until December 18.
AM: That’s a long time. It’ll be a cold drive back. Where’s the last show?
PB: New York City
AM: Okay, so it's closer to home then. Have you guys been performing mostly in community space yards like this? ES: It's a total mix. Like, sometimes we perform at a University. Sometimes we perform in parks, sometimes we perform on people's farms. It's just like whatever people can make happen.
AM: Have you been to Missoula before? ES: Yeah, in 2018. We were here right at the spot, actually.
AM: Is this the first tour since COVID?
ES: Yes, there were a couple of false starts. We tried to do a cross country tour in 2020, in March of 2020, and had to shut down very rapidly for COVID. I think we got to Baltimore, and we were like, well, we gotta go back. AM: How excited are you to have gotten this far? PB: I mean, it's awesome. I've never been on a cross country tour with Bread & Puppet. So, it's really exciting for me to see a whole bunch of places in the country I've never been to before, and it's also just so exciting to share the work with people that have never seen the show before. We're in New England all the time, but we don't get out west very often. So, it's people seeing it for the first time and every single show somebody comes up and says ‘I saw you in the 70s or the 80s’. It's really cool to bring this to more places that we don't go very often.
AM: Did you guys expect this kind of turn out in a place like Montana? PB: The last time we were at Freecycles… We've heard a rumor about how amazing that show was, and we were super excited to come back.
PB: Missoula turns out, it seems. It was this great in 2018 and this great tonight.
AM: When is the next tour? Do you think you’ll do one every year? PB: National, probably not every year. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of money. But hopefully real soon.
AM: All right, any extra words or things you want to give to Missoula, or anything you want to say about Montana? ES: It's very beautiful here. Thanks for coming out to see us and we will see you next time.
PB: And tell your friends we are on tour still! Breadandpuppet.org has future show dates. It also has information about how to join us on the farm in Vermont.