The book The Heart Of The Puppet "Hefetz Lev"

Foundations of Artistic Puppet Theater
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Illustration: Batia Kolton

From Chapter One: Once upon a time there was a puppet the puppet theater folk and traditional

From Chapter Two: Modern Times new puppet theater

From Chapter Eight: Small World - a new puppet theater space

A creation of The Train Theater and Carmel Publishing House

By: Marit Benisrael and Roni Mosenson Nelken
Illustrations: Batia Kolton
Graphic design and concept: Beni Kori

The book is a journey of love and familiarity with the big and small world of artistic puppet theater. Intended for adults and children alike, the book is written in a simple and vivacious language, accompanied by captivating illustrations by Batia Kolton. Artists Marit Benisrael and Roni Mosenson Nelken have worked for over two years to create this book, which puts together both artists' vast knowledge in artistic puppet theater in an accessible and flowing style and narrative.

Hefetz Lev is made out of 12 comprehensive chapters dealing with traditional and modern puppet theater, manipulation, materials, story-telling, object theater, puppeteers, space, music, directing of puppet theater, the viewer, and naturally, the history of The Train Theater, the artistic puppet theater company of Jerusalem.

From the back cover:
Is a puppet a work of art?
Is it a miniature performer?
Or perhaps just an object, a rag magically brought to life?
Hefetz Lev is a story of a journey; a funny and touching adventure in a world that is both big and small.
It is also a memoir, a recollection of the shows we've created and the ones we've seen, and the realizations we've come to along the way.
And more than anything else, it is a love story
The love for a complicated and subversive world
The world of artistic puppet theater.
Marit and Roni.

So what kind of book would you say it is?
A book about artistic, contemporary puppet theaters opposed to the traditional kind.

Would you say that Puppet Theater is a form of art?
Yes, it is multi-disciplinary art which combines sculpting, painting, animation, theater, dance and music.

Does the book teach you how to make Puppet Theater?
It does, and it doesn't. It teaches the artistic language of contemporary puppet theater. It doesn't contain "recipes" and explicit instructions. It's got a lot of "food for thought…", and "let's try this and that…", and puppeteers' experience and perspectives.

We're hoping it could give you tools for your own creation process and infect you with the love we have for puppet theater.

Why now?
In 2006 the Train Theater celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary. This book is like a birthday present that the theater is giving itself and the community.

Is the book about the Train Theater?
No, it's not, though it does contain a fair amount of examples taken from the theater's repertoire. Not from the entire repertoire, though. There are wonderful shows that are not mentioned in the book, while others are covered thoroughly because they serve as a good example for a certain topic.

Who is the book intended for?
For whoever is interested in creative work (in artistic puppet theater), whoever wishes to expand their horizons and get familiar with the multi-disciplinary language: students and teachers, artists and viewers, children and adults.

Children as well?
Children as well. Well, not the really little ones, of course, but we did make an effort to write it in simple language, to explain everything from the basics, without assuming any previous knowledge, and, of course, there are the illustrations.

Right, and why did you use drawings? Why not photographs?
Because not everything we wanted to illustrate you can get in photos, because we wanted to create a book with a visual language of its own, in the Train Theater's spirit, and we love Batia's work.

Who's we?
Marit and Roni, artists, puppeteers and teachers. We extremely differ in knowledge and experience, but while working together on the book, we've discovered that we complete each other like two pieces of the same puzzle, that we're in a surprisingly deep agreement about the picture as a whole.

We'd also like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to our teachers and our students, to the artists who inspired us and provoked our thought, to the artists of The Train Theater who generously shared their experience with us, to the artistic director of the Train Theater, Dalia Yaffe-Maayan, who invited us to present and summarize the knowledge we've accumulated over the years and pass it along, who was very enabling, understanding, respectful and extremely patient. We worked on the book for over two years and loved every minute of it. We hope we can share that enjoyment with our readers.

About the authors
Roni Mosenson-Nelken: Puppeteer, teacher and touch therapist. Studied in Tel Aviv University and took advanced courses with international artists of puppet theater. One of the Train Theater's artists and a founder of The School of Visual Theater.

Marit Benisrael: Writer and interdisciplinary artist. Studied in the Department of Fine Art at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, and in the Department of Theater Arts at Tel Aviv University. A founder of The School of Visual Theater. Published several books including Let Down Your Braids (Am Oved, 1995), and Daughters of the Dragon (Hakibutz Hameuchad, 2007), writes for notes.co.il (רשימות) about disciplinary art and fairy tales.

About the illustrator
Batia Kolton – Teacher of illustration, illustrator and a renounced comic's artist, partner in Actus, an Israeli comic's artist group. Many of her works are featured in newspapers and magazines. Illustrated a number of books including: Hayim Nachman Bialik's Rutz Ben Susi, and Nurit Zarchi's See You at the South Pole. A book with a selection of her comics art work was published in France.

A Book launch was held in the International Festival for Puppet Theater of 2009, titled "The Feast of Fairies", inspired by the Sleeping Beauty tale. Twelve artists from Israel and abroad were invited to give their blessings for the new born book in the form of twelve “performances on plates".

The featured artists: Marit Benisrael | Beni Kori | Viktor Antonov | Damiet van Dalsum | Agnès Limbos | Johannes Volkmann & Martin Ellrodt | Hadass Ophrat | Natalia Rosenthal | Alina Ashbel | Naomi Yoeli | Galia Levi-Gradd | Jonathan Ben Haim | And… Roni and Yosef!

The feast was accompanied by live music performed by Tanir (flute) and Peter Tuval (accordion).

To watch a video of the launch click here
Click here - For an interview about the book in NRG (Hebrew)
Click here - For an article about the book (Hebrew)
Click here - For Marit Benisrael's blog post about the puppet Yosef (Hebrew).

The Fairies Feast