Performing Interruptions: The Ruth Kanner Theatre Group (RKTG) and Kafka’s An Imperial Message

Adi Chawin, Ruth Kanner, Actors Shirley Gal, Ronen Babluki, Adi Meirovitch, Siwar Awwad, Arnon Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theatre creator Ruth Kanner and the actors of her group discuss the notion of ‘interruption’ and its performative aspects, as they explored them in their work with Franz Kafka’s An Imperial Message, a short story in which endless obstacles prevent a message from reaching its destination. Adi Chawin, who collaborated with the group in a Research Laboratory hosted by the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, interviews Kanner and the actors about interruptions that are activated as an intentional practice during rehearsals, and the many ways they shape the mechanisms of the work. Chawin attempts to identify how the broad, multifaceted concept of ‘interruption’ takes on concrete meaning in the group’s work in the studio and on stage, especially in their interpretation of Kafka’s story with its own obstacles, hurdles and impossibilities. Through the process of working on Kafka’s short story, the group explored the idea that when an interruption of any kind occurs, it creates a break in the expected structure, and this procedure, at many instances, exposes hidden layers of the subject matter, and shapes alternative perceptions of the piece. Kanner and the actors searched for practices, exercises, expressions and attitudes that stimulate such deliberate ‘interruptions’. Chawin reflects on the rehearsal process she had witnessed, where various forms of interruptions—intentional mispronunciations, disturbances to speech, to movement or to action, the placing of obstacles, failures, distractions, interferences—became part of the discovery procedures, and some of them were incorporated into the performance itself. During the interview, Kanner exposes her attraction to processes that interrupt the hegemonic status of linear ‘understanding’, challenge even the communicability of the text itself and give way to different deep structures of reception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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