Press Comments

Press Comments
photo by Kate Russell

In Viljandi, Estonia, 2019, Ruth Zaporah performed in a play written by Andres Normeets. The allegoric play named RUTH was scripted and the other three actors followed lines and stage instructions. Throughout the play, Ruth, on the other hand, improvised her role as a girl murdered when she was eight years old and who now, three generations later, continues to prowl the estate, a ghostly search for a ring that will finally open the gate for her peaceful death.
The following quotes are excerpts from reviews from various members of the Estonian press.
excerpt: there are moments when only her gray-haired head and those beautiful hands stand out. Very powerful "presence". She exudes wisdom and intelligence.
excerpt: One of the surprises of the production is the very special and award-winning American actress Ruth Zaporah, who has created a method of action theater improvisation and has performed on almost every continent. The performance is also made extraordinary by the fact that for the first time in the history of theater the action-theater method and the Estonian psychological theater, which grew out of Stanislavsky School, meet on stage.
excerpt: With what kind of power and explosive energy this tiny fragile woman fills her presence in a large dark space ... It is interesting to see how he finds always new improvisation opportunities in given frames and characters. Her extraordinary precision, in every sense, is touching.
excerpt: One of the surprises of the production is Ruth Zaporah, a special and genuine performance artist who lives in the United States and is a grand old lady of the improvisation. She has received numerous awards, she was named a Cultural Envoy by the U.S. State Department. Her hometown is Santa Fe, the capital of the state of New Mexico.

The performance Ruth is extraordinary by the fact that for the first time in the history of theater are together on stage two completely different styles: these are the Estonian Psychological Theater, which grew out of Stanislavsky School and the method of action-theater created by Ruth Zaporah. This meeting is not merely symbolic.

"Known for her improvisational acting technique, Action Theater, Ms. Zaporah sees the body and the mind as inseparable disciplines in which, as her biography states, the body is “the doorway through which the mind becomes present.”

An unpredictable presence, Ms. Zaporah was at times bawdy, innocent and insolent as she moved through the space dressed entirely in black, including a scarf that she tied across her forehead. Her white hair stuck up at the top, giving her that “Grey Gardens” edge. Her spidery fingers splayed and wiggled as she moved along an eccentric path that covered every bit of the stage.

“Thursday’s Out” was a breath of Old World dance kookiness, but it was also a chance to witness a body and mind in which comedy and tragedy exist side by side, allowing for a magic act to occur: an improviser truly living in the moment."
--GIA KOURLAS, New York Times, 10/30/11

"Ruth Zaporah is a movement artist who has internalized a kinetic vocabulary to such an extent that she can listen to it and follow it wherever it takes her at any moment."
--Rita Felciano, SF Bay Guardian

"Zaporah is a woman of many voices and many guises. The charming entertainer can metamorphose into the schizophrenic in subtle and surprising ways....The root of her persona seems always to be a modern woman on the edge, inhabiting the body of some archetypal clown....Whether she's engaging in rancid dialogues or telling stories, whether she's being loud and tough, or feeling put upon, we know her for a woman under siege..."
--Deborah Jowitt, Voice

"Watching Ruth Zaporah in one of her performance pieces is like an exercise in surreal meditation....With the power of a gifted actress, she gives the words and phrases and tales she tells a symphonic scope, stretching them to elusive purpose....Her command of verbal and body language is extraordinary....The changes were mercurial, characters flowing into on another imperceptibly.....In Zaporah's performance pieces, the language of the body and that of the voice merge identities. The body movement has a literal, narrative quality, whereas the voice is an extension of the body's moving arts."
--Marilyn Tucker, SF Chronicle

"Zaporah and (Leonard) Pitt are near-legends of the performance art scene that flourished here from the late 70's through the 80's, creating the regions international reputation as a hotbed of experimental theater."
--Robert Hurwitt, SF Examiner

"(Rinde) Eckert and Zaporah are masters of ambiguity, pulling you in moments from tears of laughter to compassion."
--Kate Regan, San Francisco Chronicle

"Zaporah has a zany sense of humor, is a skilled dancer, and an actress with a protean face and a very powerful voice. Within moments she can appear beautiful or plain, blank or animated, very young or very old, out of control or excessively controlled, authoritarian or meek....The sounds she makes in a performance are astonishingly expressive."
--New Performance Journal

Off the Cuff By Peter Breslin, Santa Fe Reporter, September 2006.

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