Do you speak puppetry
Puppetry as an alternative form of communication
A Puppetry Production based on a Social Issue
In 1985, I produced a puppet show called Encounters. For several years, it was performed to audiences of school children in the third through sixth grades. The story was about two young boys, one an Israeli Jew and the other an Israeli Arab, who get stuck in an elevator. There is a button in the elevator that they must push in order to call for help. However, the button is too high for either of them to reach. They quickly come to the conclusion that one of them will have to climb on the other’s shoulders in order to reach the button and get themselves out of the predicament. The dilemma manifested itself in the need to decide who would stand on whose shoulders. Each boy did not want to be on the bottom. They utilized physical, historical, and social arguments in an attempt to solve this problem. Towards the end of the production, the two boys realized that they couldn’t solve the problem. At this point, the puppets and the puppeteers turned to the audience and asked them how they thought the problem should be solved. This led to active audience participation. In the end, one suggestion was chosen and enacted.
Afterwards, the audience was divided into discussion groups, where the puppeteers led them in a more in depth exploration of the issue of coexistence.