My Soul’s Shadow

Manual Cinema’s My Soul’s Shadow is a cinematic shadow puppet show and immersive installation based on the poetry of Federico García Lorca. The shadow projections are created using six overhead projectors, five puppeteers, two screens, and dozens of handmade paper shadow puppets. Original music by Kyle Vegter is performed live by a chamber ensemble. The installation includes projections of Lorca’s poetry, interactive rotary phones that allow audience members to hear readings of Lorca’s verse, and a collection of other curious objects for people to explore.

My Soul’s Shadow loosely adapts imagery, themes, and characters from Lorca’s poetry, dividing his body of work into three acts. The first act is based on poems Lorca wrote early in his career in Granada and Madrid; many of these poems take inspiration from Spanish folk tradition, and are steeped in nature imagery, as well as portraits of Granada’s gypsy community. The second act is based on poems Lorca wrote while visiting New York City, and the third is based on The Divan Tamarit, which Lorca wrote near the end of his life, and which takes inspiration from the Arab-Andalusian poetic tradition. The performance of My Soul’s Shadow is bookended by the character of Lorca himself, and is based on biographical details of his life, including his ultimate imprisonment and assassination at the hands of Nationalist militia in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.


My Soul’s Shadow was created by Manual Cinema Artistic Directors Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter

Directed by Sarah Fornace
Music Score and Sound Design by Kyle Vegter
Puppet Design by Drew Dir and Julia Miller
Installation Design by Ben Kauffman and Sarah Fornace
Custom Electronics by Andy Sigler
Associate Puppet Design by Lizi Breit
Live Sound Effects by Kyle Vegter
Sound Engineer and Production Manager: Mike Usrey

Federico García Lorca and Puppeteer: Jose Nateras
Puppeteers: Kara Davidson, Sam Duetsch, Charlotte Long, Julia Miller

Music performed by:
Ellen McSweeny, violin
Alex Ellsworth, cello
Deidre Huckaby, flute
Zachary Good, clarinet

Text by Federico García Lorca
Translations by Catherine Brown, Greg Simon, and Steven F. White
My Soul’s Shadow also adapts Lorca’s illustrations and drawings.

The original cast included Diane Mair and Music performed by Nu Deco Ensemble:
Aleksandr Zhuk, violin
Aaron Merrit, cello
Daniel Velasco, flute
Annabelle Hwang, clarinet


The original soundtrack for My Soul’s Shadow is available here on CD, tape or digital download.

Photos from the O’Miami Poetry Festival Production by Gesi Schilling, and the Chicago Humanities Festival production by Maren Celest


“a feat of sophisticated shadow puppetry”
MORGAN GREENE, Chicago Tribune November 2015

“a surreal journey”
WILSON SAYRE, WLRN Miami April 2015

“an immersive, engaging experience”
HILARY SAUNDERS, Miami New Times April, 2015