Political Theater

How does one define political theater’Those who favor conservative or
rightwing views,first think of it as leftist propaganda. Individuals who
enjoy mainstream plays and straightforward plots, see it as one-sided and
pedantic. It is true that inferior productions of these performances can be
dogmatic and strident, but every art form has its detractors. However,
political theater at its best emphasizes an important societal issue of the
day and delivers a message to viewers of all backgrounds and interests. It
wishes to be anything but a political party line or single-dimensional in
nature. Audiences with a wider view consider political theatre ranging far
outside mere polemics. As playwright and journalist Ben Winters states,
“political theatre can also be defined as exploring themes more universal
and central to society itself, especially when that society defines itself
as politically conscious.” Adds playwright Jessica Blank, “First and
foremost, what we wanted to do was make a good piece of theatre, political
or not. If the piece also has a purpose, it can serve that purpose better
the better a work of art it is.” Surely, El Teatro Campesino Theatre and
Bread and Puppet Theatre exemplify this higher level of political
Peter Schumann formed The Bread & Puppet Theatre in 1962 on New York
City’s Lower East Side.It was named for the coarse, flavorful sourdough
bread that was given out at its performances, and for the grave, evocative
puppet figures that were the theatre’s main performers. During the 60s
decade, Bread and Puppet took to the streets, creating outdoor shows,
giving expression to neighborhood issues and taking part in peace parades.
Since then, it has included work in many different styles, from simple
ten-minute performances that can be put on by two people in the street to
that require casts of twenty or more. Pupp

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