Zvika Serper is Chairperson of the Department of East Asian Studies, and Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies and the Department of Theatre Arts of Tel Aviv University. He is a specialist in Japanese theatre and cinema, as well as a theatre director and actor.
Serper studied in Japan for eight years during which he pursued his research at the Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hōsei University, Tokyo, as well as undergoing practical study, training and performances of Noh, Kyōgen and Kabuki with Japan's leading actors. During the last two decades; Serper has been exploring a new horizon that traditional Japanese theatres may open up for Western theatre by incorporating various Japanese aesthetics and techniques into highly appraised productions, whose video recordings have been shown around the world.
Zvika Serper has published numerous articles on various aspects of Japanese theatre, on its influence on Japanese cinema and on the similar aesthetic of both arts, and he has given lectures/demonstrations and conducted master classes and workshops overseas in acting and movement techniques at major theatres, acting schools and universities.
Interweaving Techniques and Aesthetics of Japanese Classical Theatre into Productions of Classical Western Plays
The aim of the research is to analyze the contemporary interweaving of techniques and aesthetics of Japanese classical theatre into productions of Western classical drama by five contemporary Japanese and Western directors who approach this quest for East/West theatrical cultures from different perspectives. The first part of the research will concentrate on directors (SUZUKI Tadashi and myself), whose methodology began with a training method that encompassed the vocal and movement elements of Japanese classical theatre and was aimed at developing the performers’ expressivity and specific abilities. Following this preparatory stage, they proceeded in the directing and designing of new productions of Western classical plays while employing the aesthetics of Japanese classical theatre, but without attempting to create an impression or style of a specific genre of this theatre. The second part of the research will deal with three directors (NINAGAWA Yukio, Robert Wilson and Ariane Mnouchkine) who did not engage with training the performers, but rather created productions that reflected the spirit and characteristics of a single genre of Japanese classical theatre—either Noh, Kyōgen or Kabuki, through their directing and design.