Community Spotlight – Raphael Sarya Serfaty

Rafael Sarya Serfaty has been involved with the JET community since 2019, performing with Beit Hillel and Starcatcher in Fiddler on the Roof, Aida, Heathers, and Into the Woods. We asked Rafael some questions and would love to share his answers with you.

JET: Why did you get involved in acting?

RSS: I [have] loved singing since I was a little kid. When I was 14 I auditioned for an Anime-musical in Tel-Aviv (Yes! Anime-musicals are a thing!) And I got accepted for the lead role. I knew nothing about acting then and I learned it during rehearsals. It was such a positive experience that it made me audition for the theatre in my high school the same year. From this point, theatre became a thing [I] couldn’t imagine myself not doing.

JET: What is your favorite theater memory?

RSS: I remember that after a show of Aida someone came to me to say how good the show was. He told me that he is playing guitar as a hobby and that the show made him realize that he actually wants to study music. It’s an amazing compliment for the show, and I’m so happy it inspired someone to learn and to create, even if it’s for a moment.

JET: What is the hardest part about being an actor?

RSS: As someone who comes from singing originally, I’m used to a skill which you know exactly when you’re doing it right. Singing for me is based on a very precise technique, and I can tell when it was done right and when it felt right. In acting it’s more complicated. Most of the time I can’t tell if my acting works. I can’t tell if it’s authentic or if I’m in the right mode, and doing just the things that you’re used to can create a hollow performance.

JET: What was the most rewarding show you have done?

RSS: Aida. It was a show that fit my measures perfectly. I played Mereb, a role that gave me the chance to show lots of aspects, from comedic bits to emotional ones. To this day, How I Know You (reprise) is still the most difficult song I did on stage while acting. Also, this was the show that cured my phobia from dancing. Thanks to the master choreographer, Ashira, for helping me with that 🙂 

JET: How do you prepare for different roles?

RSS: Trying new things every time. I love playing a character during rehearsal and challenging the limits it can get to. In the worst case scenario, something won’t work and I’ll do something else. That’s what rehearsals are for.

JET: What is your dream role and why?

RSS: The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera. I fell in love with this character and with this musical ever since I saw the musical for the first time. Also, I always wanted to play a villain, and a villain who is motivated by love, loneliness and passion for the arts, as sick as it can be, is an interesting material to work with.

JET: How have you changed as an actor throughout your career?

RSS: I used to believe that good acting comes from pathos. If I may borrow from Gershwin, it ain’t necessarily so. I learned during shows to control myself, harmonizing with the other things around me and doing softer actions on stage. I cannot say I achieved full success, but I am working on it.

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