Study Guide

Salt of the Earth

The Story | Characters | Artists | Art Forms | Enrichment Activities

SALT OF THE EARTH uses puppetry (object, shadow, hybridized bunraku-style puppetry), live video feed, music and elements of noir cinema to enhance the storytelling.

The faceless, nameless writer hero is a Bunraku-style puppet made from an authentic 1967 Israeli combat bag, whose thoughts and dialogue are narrated by an actor (Zvi Sahar). We have ‘appropriated’ the term Bunraku because it best reflects how we manipulate this puppet. Hybridized is a more accurate term, as traditional Bunraku puppetry employs three puppeteers to one puppet, whereas we switch between 1 and 2 puppeteers and use the camera as a third ‘helper’ to assist in the ‘animation’ process.

Several other different forms of puppetry, including object and shadow, are employed to signify both the various supporting characters our hero engages with and his ever-evolving psychological state.

The camera which projects the live feed is manipulated like a puppet. The camera’s perspective is used as the hero’s POV. This also allows for a delicate depiction of the signs of life in the puppet, ie. breath, rapid heart rate, fear, and will convey the ‘realistic’ details of the miniature world blown up on the big screen.

In addition to sound effects generated by our musician on stage, three tracks have also been recorded by Amos Kenan’s daughter, Rona, an Israeli folksinger, including a Zionist pioneer song used before Israel established statehood. The music is the glue between stage and screen. It keeps the audience on track emotionally. Solo accordion or guitar sonically echoes the emotional weight of the journey. For example, in the book, the Narrator hears a song over and over again in his head. In the stage show, the audience will hear this hook in differing modalities depending on the action.