Peter Brook

Last updated

Peter Brook

CH, CBE
Peter Brook.JPG
Brook in November 2009
Born (1925-03-21) 21 March 1925 (age 96)
OccupationDirector
Years active1943–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 1951;died 2015)
Children Irina Brook
Simon Brook
Relatives

Peter Stephen Paul Brook, CH, CBE (born 21 March 1925) [1] is an English theatre and film director who has been based in France since the early 1970s. He has won multiple Tony and Emmy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award, the Praemium Imperiale, and the Prix Italia. [2] He has been called "our greatest living theatre director". [3]

Contents

With the Royal Shakespeare Company, Brook directed the first English-language production of Marat/Sade in 1964. It transferred to Broadway in 1965 and won the Tony Award for Best Play, and Brook was named Best Director. [2]

Early life

Brook was born in the Turnham Green area of Chiswick, London, the second son of Simon Brook and his wife Ida (Jansen), both Lithuanian Jewish immigrants from Latvia. [4] [5] [6] The family home was at 27 Fairfax Road, Turnham Green. [6] His elder brother was the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Alexis Brook (1920-2007). [7] His first cousin was Valentin Pluchek, chief director of the Moscow Satire Theatre. [8] Brook was educated at Westminster School, Gresham's School, and Magdalen College, Oxford. [1]

Career

Bouffes du Nord theatre, Paris Paris Bouffes du Nord 01.JPG
Bouffes du Nord theatre, Paris

Brook directed Dr Faustus , his first production, in 1943 at the Torch Theatre in London, followed at the Chanticleer Theatre in 1945 with a revival of The Infernal Machine . In 1947, he went to Stratford-upon-Avon as assistant director on Romeo and Juliet and Love's Labour's Lost . From 1947 to 1950, he was Director of Productions at the Royal Opera House in London. His work there included a highly controversial staging of Richard Strauss's Salome with sets by Salvador Dalí, and an effective re-staging of Puccini's La bohème using sets dating from 1899. A proliferation of stage and screen work as producer and director followed. Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson (1948–49), at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, was an early, much admired production.[ citation needed ]

In 1970, with Micheline Rozan, Brook founded the International Centre for Theatre Research, a multinational company of actors, dancers, musicians and others, which travelled widely in the Middle East and Africa in the early 1970s. It has been based in Paris at the Bouffes du Nord theatre since 1974. [9] He announced in 2008 that he would resign as artistic director of Bouffes du Nord, beginning that year a three-year handover to Olivier Mantei and Olivier Poubelle. [10]

Influences

Brook has been influenced by the work of Antonin Artaud and his ideas for his Theatre of Cruelty.

In England, Peter Brook and Charles Marowitz undertook The Theatre of Cruelty Season (1964) at the Royal Shakespeare Company, aiming to explore ways in which Artaud's ideas could be used to find new forms of expression and retrain the performer. The result was a showing of 'works in progress' made up of improvisations and sketches, one of which was the premier of Artaud's The Spurt of Blood .

Lee Jamieson, Antonin Artaud: From Theory to Practice, Greenwich Exchange, 2007

His greatest influence, however, was Joan Littlewood. Brook described her as "the most galvanising director in mid-20th century Britain". Brook's work is also inspired by the theories of experimental theatre of Jerzy Grotowski, [11] Bertolt Brecht, Chris Covics and Vsevolod Meyerhold and by the works of G. I. Gurdjieff, [12] Edward Gordon Craig, [13] and Matila Ghyka. [14]

Collaborators

Brook has collaborated with a range of directors, writers and actors during his career, notable examples include actors Paul Scofield and Glenda Jackson; designers Georges Wakhévitch and Sally Jacobs, and writers Ted Hughes and William Golding. Brook first encountered Wakhévitch in London when he saw the production of Jean Cocteau's ballet Le Jeune Homme et la Mort which Wakhévitch designed. Brook declared that he "was convinced that this was the designer for whom I had been waiting". [15]

Shakespeare

The Mahabharata

In the mid-1970s, [16] Brook, with writer Jean-Claude Carrière, began work on adapting the Indian epic poem the Mahābhārata into a stage play which was first performed in 1985 [17] and then later into a televised mini series.

In a long article in 1985, The New York Times noted "overwhelming critical acclaim", and that the play "did nothing less than attempt to transform Hindu myth into universalized art, accessible to any culture". [18] However, many postcololonial scholars have challenged the claim to universalism, accusing the play of orientalism. For instance, Gautam Dasgupta writes that, "Brook's Mahabharata falls short of the essential Indianness of the epic by staging predominantly its major incidents and failing to adequately emphasize its coterminous philosophical precepts." [19]

In 2015, Brook returned to the world of The Mahabharata with a new Young Vic production, Battlefield in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carrière and Marie-Hélène Estienne.

Tierno Bokar

In 2005, Brook directed Tierno Bokar, based on the life of the Malian sufi of the same name. [2] The play was adapted for the stage by Marie-Hélène Estienne from a book by Amadou Hampate Ba (translated into English as A Spirit of Tolerance: The Inspiring Life of Tierno Bokar ). The book and play detail Bokar's life and message of religious tolerance. Columbia University produced 44 related events, lectures, and workshops that were attended by over 3,200 people throughout the run of Tierno Bokar. Panel discussions focused on topics of religious tolerance and Muslim tradition in West Africa. [20]

Personal life

In 1951, Brook married actress Natasha Parry. They had two children: Irina, an actress and director, and Simon, a director. Parry died of a stroke in July 2015, aged 84. [21]

Work

Works with RSC

Other major productions

Filmography

Awards

Honours

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Georges Corraface Greek-French actor

Georges Corraface is a French actor of Greek origin, born on December 7th, 1952 in Paris, France. He has an international career in film and television, following many years in French theatre, notably as a member of the renowned International Center for Theatre Research under the direction of Peter Brook in the Peter Brook Company. His notable film credits credits include To Tama, Escape from L.A., La Pasión Turca, Vive La Mariée, Impromptu, Christopher Columbus, A Touch of Spice, and a feature film debut in The Mahabharata. His most popular television appearances include La Bicyclette Bleue, L'Éte Rouge in France, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in the USA and Drifting Cities in Greece..

Gregory Mosher is a longtime director and producer of stage productions at the Lincoln Center and Goodman Theatres, on and off-Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, and in the West End. He is also a film director and television director, producer, and writer. He currently chairs the Theatre Department at Hunter College.

Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord

The Bouffes du Nord is a theatre at 37 bis, boulevard de la Chapelle, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris located near the Gare du Nord. It has been listed since 1993 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

Clovis Cornillac French actor, film director, and screenwriter

Clovis Cornillac is a French actor, film director, and screenwriter.

Molière Award Award for French theatre

The Molière Award recognises achievement in live French theatre and is the national theatre award of France. The awards are presented and decided by the Association professionnelle et artistique du théâtre (APAT) and supported by the Ministry of Culture at an annual ceremony, called the Nuit des Molières in Paris. The awards are given for French productions and performances.

<i>The Mahabharata</i> (1989 film) 1989 film directed by Peter Brook

The Mahabharata is a 1989 film version of the Hindu epic Mahabharata directed by Peter Brook. Brook's original 1985 stage play was 9 hours long, and toured around the world for four years. In 1989, it was reduced to under 6 hours for television. Later it was also reduced to about 3 hours for theatrical and DVD release. The screenplay was the result of eight years' work by Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière and Marie-Hélène Estienne.

Habib Dembélé

Habib Dembélé is a Malian actor, director, author and a candidate for the Malian Presidential elections of 2002 and 2018.

Tierno Bokar, full name Tierno Bokar Saalif Tall, was a Malian mystic, Sufi sage, and a Muslim spiritual teacher of the early twentieth century famous for his message of religious tolerance and universal love.

Patrice Pavis was Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury (UK), where he retired at the end of the academic year 2015/16. He has written extensively about performance, focusing his study and research mainly in semiology and interculturalism in theatre. He was awarded the Georges Jamati Prize in 1986.

Kên Higelin is a French stage and film actor, theatre director and music video director.

Alain Maratrat is French actor, theater and opera director known for his innovative interpretations and staging. He has shared his longtime exploration of the body as an instrument of theatrical expression through workshops and classes for actors, dancers, and singers, throughout the world. He was a winner of a Golden Mask award in 2006, as director of the opera Il Viaggio a Reims.

The Mahabharata is a French play, based on the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata, by Jean-Claude Carrière, which was first staged in a quarry just outside Avignon in a production by the English director Peter Brook. The play, which is nine hours long in performance, toured the world for four years. For two years the show was performed both in French and in English. The play is divided into three parts: The Game of Dice, The Exile in the Forest and The War. In 1989, it was adapted for television as a six-hour mini series. Later, it was reduced to about three hours as a film for theatrical and DVD release. The screenplay was the result of eight years' work by Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Marie-Hélène Estienne.

The Man Who: a theatrical research is the English text of this play by Peter Brook, co-authored by Marie-Hélène Estienne, and created in Paris with Brook's troupe at The Bouffes du Nord Theatre.

Micheline Rozan

Micheline Rozan was a French stage and film producer who co-founded the International Centre for Theatre Research with British director Peter Brook.

Marie-Hélène Estienne

Marie-Hélène Estienne is a French playwright and screenwriter, probably best known for her collaborations with the British director Peter Brook and the International Centre for Theatre Research at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris.

The Prix du Brigadier, established in 1960 by the Association de la Régie théâtrale (ART), is an award given to a personality from the world of theater.

Battlefield is a play directed and written by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, based on Le Mahabharata by Brook, Estienne and Jean-Claude Carrière. It was made and premiered in 2015 at the Young Vic in London, and featured actors Carole Karemera, Jared McNeill, Ery Nzaramba and Sean O’Callaghan. The music was written and performed on stage by Le Mahabharata's musician Toshi Tsuchitori.

René Clermont

René Clermont was a French stage and film actor as well as a playwright.

Gaëtan Vassart

Gaëtan Vassart is a theatre director, author and actor born in 1978 in Brussels, Belgium.

Françoise Dorner is a French actress, screenwriter, author of plays and novels.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Brook, Peter Stephen Paul, (born 21 March 1925), producer; Co-Director, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u8856 . Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 "Peter Brook: all the world's his stage". ISSN   0140-0460 . Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  3. Taylor, Paul (5 September 2008). "Peter Brook: The director who wrote the book". The Independent . Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  4. Webb, Takka Productions Limited | Design by Webb &. "https://www.jewishlivesproject.com/profiles/peter-brook". www.jewishlivesproject.com. Retrieved 12 June 2021.External link in |title= (help)
  5. Aronson, Arnold (25 May 2005). "Peter Brook: A Biography". The New York Times .
  6. 1 2 Michael Kustow (17 October 2013). Peter Brook: A Biography. A & C Black. pp. 5–7. ISBN   978-1-4088-5228-6 . Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  7. Wittenberg, Isca (27 September 2007). "Obituary: Alexis Brook". The Guardian . London. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  8. "Category Archives: Memorial Plaques to Theater Artists". russianlandmarks. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  9. Chambers, Colin The Continuum Companion To Twentieth Century Theatre (Continuum, 2002, ISBN   0-8264-4959-X) p. 384
  10. Chrisafis, Angelique (17 December 2008). "Interview: Peter Brook says a long goodbye to his Paris theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
  11. Brook, Peter (1968). The Empty Space . [New York] Discus Books.
  12. Nicolescu, Basarab; Williams, David (1997). "Peter Brook and Traditional Thought". Contemporary Theatre Review. Overseas Publishers Association. 7: 11–23. doi:10.1080/10486809708568441. Archived from the original on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  13. "Pas de deux" by Michael Holroyd, The Guardian, Saturday 7 March 2009
  14. Gibbons, Fiachra "The prayers of Peter Brook", The Guardian, 17 January 2010.
  15. Brook, Peter. Threads of Time: A Memoir. ISBN   0413733009., 53
  16. Morgenstern, Joe (17 April 1988). "Jean-Claude Pierre; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind – interview about the stage adaptation". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
  17. Carriere, Jean-Claude (September 1989). "Jean-Claude Carriere; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind – interview about the stage adaptation". UNESCO Courier. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
  18. Margaret Croyden (25 August 1985). "Peter Brook transforms an Indian epic for the stage". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  19. Dasgupta, Gautam (1991). ""The Mahabharata: Peter Brook's Orientalism"". In Marranca, Bonnie; Gautam, Dasgupta (eds.). Interculturalism and Performance: Writings from PAJ. New York: PAJ Publications. p. 81.
  20. Columbia University, "Record of Events", tiernobokar.columbia.edu; accessed 19 June 2015.
  21. "Natasha Parry obituary". The Guardian. 26 July 2015.
  22. Rosenthal, Daniel. "You've all been wonderful, darlings". ISSN   0140-0460 . Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  23. Tommasini, Anthony (7 July 2011). "A Streamlined 'Magic Flute,' Reimagined by Peter Brook". The New York Times.
  24. Green, Jesse (26 September 2019). "Review: Peter Brook Asks the Ultimate Question in ‘Why?’". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  25. "Tony Awards" . Retrieved 13 February 2008.
  26. II Europe Theatre Prize / Reasons Europe Theatre Prize
  27. "British director wins the Ibsen Prize". Norway.org. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  28. "Theater Hall of Fame Gets 10 New Members". The New York Times. 10 May 1983.
  29. AFP. "563 décorés de la Légion d'honneur pour Pâques". Libération (in French). Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  30. "The British Academy President's Medal". British Academy. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  31. IT, Desarrollado con webControl CMS por Intermark. "Peter Brook - Premiados - Premios Princesa de Asturias". Fundación Princesa de Asturias.
  32. Desk, The Hindu Net (25 January 2021). "List of Padma awardees — 2021" via www.thehindu.com.

Further reading