BREAD & PUPPET Printshop Internship: Week 5

(July 25-31, 2012) The last week of the first internship was very busy with printing and rehearsals. Michelle, who had no prior experience with Letterpress Printing, proved to be a quick study!  After Lila gave her a demo on composing and setting type, she just fell right into the task of picking up the blocks of letters and spelling the words like there was nooooo tomorrow!  She set the type for Peter’s JingleBook Poster all by herself!  Genius! 
Everywhere I looked, the theatre was abuzz with performers working on their own short pieces for the farewell party/cabaret: Cafe des Cheap ArtistesThey made all kinds of wonderful puppets, and pursued other fun and worthwhile endeavors, like stilt walking, taking part in the Runaway Pond Cantastoria, and running in the Glover Day Fund Racer. The race ain’t over until the pink elephant crosses the finish line, and shortly after the much-awaited star pachyderm made its appearance, the Printshop Crew hopped into a 4-wheeler, and headed out to the neighboring town to sell the theater’s posters, postcards, and books at the Barton Craft Fair.  The festive atmosphere has made us all quite at ease with one another, and when I’m not printing, I tried to learn songs and poems in other languages.
One afternoon, as I was eating ice cream from a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s sitting atop the backyard dining table, I happened upon Eloiza, an intern from Brazil.  I asked her if she knew the Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, not knowing if she read poetry at all. Surprisingly, she turned to me, and declared, “YES, I LOVE ANDRADE!!! BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW HIM???”   Well, I said, I think he’s brilliant, but I’ve only read him in English.  Would you care to read his poems in Portuguese???
Two afternoons later, we have read a few of his poems in English and Portuguese, and even recorded some of his shorter poems.  Here is a video of Eloiza reading “Quadrilha,” in Portuguese,

followed by a sound recording of me reading QUADRILLE in English.  Eloiza also taught me to read one of the simpler poems in Portuguese.  Here is NO MEIO DO CAMINHO read in my best Portuguese, followed by its translation, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD read in my best English.  (Pardon my cold-ese… Spring has snuck up on me on my recent trip to the library.)  If you ever meet Eloisa, ask her to recite Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” from memory.  It will blow your mind!
Long story short, I decided to stay for one more month, since Lila can use some help in the printshop… and I just couldn’t bear to leave and miss Hou’s “secret” birthday, and the Perseids meteor shower in August (which apparently could not be seen because it rained and rained and the clouds covered the sky with nimbus.)  Fortunately, there were plenty of shooting stars and other nocturnal attractions.
Bread & Puppet Printshop Internship: Week 5
Molly, Hou, Gina, me and Michelle sitting down to a backyard dinner of chicken and noodles after a long sweaty walk into town to gather provisions.  After the first internship, Molly & Gina return to Taiwan, Michelle to New York then to Ireland, while Hou and I stay for another month. (photo taken by Molly on the first week)


Bread & Puppet Printshop Internship: Week 5
Peter, about to signal the start of the Pageant


**********~The English versions of Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s poems, “Quadrilha,” and “No Meio Do Caminho,” were translated, respectively, by Mark Strand, and Elizabeth Bishop.  They can be found in the book, Travelling In The Family, edited by Thomas Colchie and Mark Strand, and published by Random House in 1986.