Professor Ruth Kanner teaches acting at the Department for Theatre Studies, Tel Aviv University, where she also served as the Head of the MFA Acting Division.
She has been the creator of experimental productions since the early 80’s. Currently she leads her own experimental theater group, the Ruth Kanner Theater Group, established in Tel Aviv in 1998. The group has been focusing mainly on stage renderings of Hebrew texts - literary works, products of the investigation of traditional Hebrew and Jewish cultures and documentary materials. The group re-examines hegemonic Israeli narratives, investigating issues related to war, oppression and the omnipresence of death. The stage representations of these investigations interweave storytelling, physical theatre, visual imagery, voice and sound.
Some recent productions:
BATHERS, a project with actresses , dancers and specially designed sound instruments, based on women’s casual conversations in the dressing room of a swimming pool (2004); DIONYSUS IN DIZENGOFF CENTER, a penetrating investigation of the historical layers of a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, performed as a story-telling theater that engages various theatrical means to ask challenging questions about the roots of the Zionist existence in Israel (2004) ; MOTHER COURAGE by Bertolt Brecht, in Theater X-Cai Brecht Festival, Tokyo, Japan (2005); SIGNALS, an original interpretation of traditional and modern Hebrew texts, with vocal artist Victoria Hannah, at the Kitchen Theater, New York (2005); AT SEA an adaptation of two stories about love, life and death at the sea shore by S. Yizhar (2005); DISGUST - a search into the anatomy of a basic human emotion, as expressed by ordinary people stopped and interviewed on a street (2006); ISRAELI STORYTELLING - a theatrical lecture with Ruth Kanner accompanied by acted theatrical scenes from stories by prominent Israeli authors, in Archa Theater, Prague, Czech Republic, and The White Stork Centre , Wroclaw, Poland (2007), ), The International India Centre, New Delhi, India (2008); EUMENIDES by Aeschylus in Theater X-Cai, Tokyo (2007); CASES of MURDER by Manfred Franke produced by Ruth Kanner Theatre Group, Tel Aviv (2008).
Kanner’s projects have won important Israeli awards.
Kanner also presents, in Israel and abroad, workshops on story-telling theater, on semiotic techniques such as Laban’s Movement Notation, on pragmatic speech act theories as sources of staging and directing techniques.
The Landau Prize for the Stage Arts committee, wrote:
"Ruth Kanner is a unique creator in Israeli theater: She is a director, an adapter, an actress, a choreographer and a teacher of theater arts. Her latest work, Discovering Elijah reveals her diverse talents: an excellent stage adaptation and directing a magnificent show… orchestrated, choreographic, manifesting unusual sensitivity for words…a moving show and a very Israeli one…"
Cited from The Israeli Theater Quarterly:
“Ruth Kanner directed, and played in, commercial shows such as Hayot (Animals), King Solomon’s Tales, Bits and Pieces, and then moved on to do work in experimental theater. Kanner is not just a director, or just a creator; she is the author of the performance as a whole: She conceives the idea, thinks it out, directs the actors and designs all the components of the show. The materials from which she draws her inspiration are not taken just from the conventional drama repertoire: scripts such as Ingmar Bergman’s film Silence, produced by Tel Aviv University (1993); literary works in prose and poetry or texts such as White Nights by Dostoyevsky (1990); the Biblical story of David and Jonathan (1991); Dan Zalka’s Winter Rite (1993); Evening and Morning by Haim Brenner (1995); and And Only This One Got No Cookie (1999). Kanner prefers open verbal and visual texts, which enable her to delve deeply into the text and the characters and create a subjective interpretation of the original, which becomes a totally new creation. Making use of performance art and choreographic techniques, as well as the language of physical movement imagery”.
Ruth Kanner won the Creative Achievements Fringe Theater Award (Tel Aviv City). Reasons given by the Fringe Theater Award committee:
“Throughout the years, Ruti Kanner has been creating an original, engaging theatrical language. She has elaborated fascinating means of expression based on movement and speech. Her work exhibits sensitivity and lightness, which add up together to a total, simple and moving theatrical ensemble” .