Study Guide

Salt of the Earth

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

A note on character depiction in Salt of the Earth: In the live production of SALT, much like in the book, characters are not portrayed with much literal or linear value or meaning. Kenan’s book is more of an allegorical, surrealistic or symbolist drama than a realistic drama with linear narrative, plot points or definable characters. The play, like the book journeys forth with dream like sketches of characters who serve the plot in a poetic function. The main hero, whom we call Amos (though only in rehearsals) is depicted more concretely than anything or anyone else in the story. He is our narrator in both human form (played by Zvi Sahar) and in puppet form (embodied by a bunraku puppet). The other characters are further reduced or merely alluded to as fragments, hints and wisps, represented on stage or screen by shadows, body parts, objects, each with their own unique feature and function, to be sure, but subject to change according to dream/nightmare logic. See also Note on Concept.

A middle-aged writer and former independence fighter, escaping the military regime. Shown on stage as a bunraku puppet and voiced by Zvi Sahar, on screen, we often see life from his first person perspective.

An upper middle class suburban house-wife of Arab background, a stranger to our hero, but one who aids in his escape. She is shown on stage using a female puppeteer’s body; on film, we see fragments of her female form, her seductive shoulders and painted nails.

Our hero’s Arab counterpart, a young man, on the run, whose own separate journey to escape, becomes enmeshed with our Narrator’s. He is depicted with shadows, we see his hand and eyes on stage and on film.

Named Rafi, he is a high ranking military officer whom our Narrator and Mahmoud take as hostage during their escape. He appears as a silhouette illuminated by headlights.

He is the highest commanding officer of the army and military regime who leads the chase. He is voiced by Zvi Sahar and will appear at the end of the show as hand and leg fragments, attempting to stop our Narrator from escaping.

A young woman from Ein Harod, formerly the Commander’s Lover. She is trying to survive as she confesses, in a violently changing world ruled by men. She is sent by the General to join our Narrator and the two become lovers briefly. She appears as a reflection in water on stage.