Bread and Puppet Theater resurrects social activism on campus

This Monday evening, Bread and Puppet Theater, together with some thirty members of the Grinnell College community, performed an “Insurrection Mass” complete with papier-mâché zebras and scriptures fed to the mouth of hell.

This performance, open to the whole Grinnell community, represented the culmination of a week’s effort on the part of the students, faculty and staff who worked with the members of the Bread and Puppet team to bring this unique example of site-specific political theater to Mac Field.

We, of the S&B, want to commend the College for inviting the theater and to further recognize the ingenuity and bravery of the collaboration they supported. Monday’s Insurrection Mass truly fell in line with Grinnell’s tenets—public arts that speak to a blend of local and global politics.

In addition to presenting a massively creative “cheer-up circus” complete with jiving old-timers in surreal masks and a post-modern corn-popping dance, the production touched on the very real and very pertinent issue of immigration in the United States. In a staged ‘sermon,’ the performers in the Insurrection Mass confronted their audience with some of the unconscionable after-effects of a broken immigration system: AIDS patients who die in detention for lack of care, a Grinnellian who, despite leaving this college trained for active and responsible US citizenship, is currently being denied that status and the rights it entails.

Since we hope to develop a community which both governs (and cares for) itself and participates in the broader project of social justice, we encourage Grinnell to continue supporting performances and statements like that of the Insurrection Mass.