Peter Brook


Peter Brook

Infobox actor
name = Peter Brook



imagesize =
caption =
birthname = Peter Stephen Paul Brook
birthdate = birth date and age|1925|03|21
birthplace = Chiswick, west London
othername =
occupation = Director
spouse =
yearsactive =
homepage =
academyawards =
tonyawards = Best Direction of a Play
1966 "Marat/Sade"
1971 "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE (born 21 March 1925) is a British theatre and film director and innovator.

Biography

Life

Born in Chiswick, west London, the second son of Simon and Ida Brook, and educated at Westminster School, Gresham's School, Holt, and Magdalen College, Oxford.

While at Gresham's he took part in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, and while at Oxford The Infernal Machine. In 1945–1946, he worked at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on productions of Man and Superman, King John, and The Lady from the Sea. In 1946, his first London production was Vicious Circle. 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, Covent Garden. A proliferation of stage and screen work as producer and director followed.

In 1951, Brook married the actress Natasha Parry and together they have one son and one daughter.

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 is now based in Paris at the Bouffes du Nord theatre. [Chambers, Colin "The Continuum Companion To Twentieth Century Theatre" (Continuum, 2002, ISBN 0-8264-4959-X) p. 384] You can hear a recording of his voice on TheatreVoice.

Influences

His work is inspired by the theories of experimental theatre of Jerzy Grotowski, Bertolt Brecht, Meyerhold, G. I. Gurdjieff and the works of Edward Gordon Craig and Stuart Davis.Fact|date=February 2007

Brook was influenced by the work of Antonin Artaud and his ideas for a Theatre of Cruelty.

In England, at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Peter Brook and Charles Marowitz undertook The Theatre of Cruelty Season in 1964, 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 Jet of Blood

"The Empty Space"

Peter Brook's book "The Empty Space" was a highly influential piece of work. It consists of 4 parts, each describing a version of the notion and nature of theatre. Each section is an adaptation of a speech he gave at various Universities. For this reason this book has an accessible, fluid tone.

The opening couple of sentences are extremely widely quoted:

I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all I need for an act of theatre to be engaged.

This quote has become something of a mantra for practitioners of site-specific theatre, and also for those working with devising.

"The Empty Space" strips theatre down to the bare bones of what performance is, rejecting the necessity for traditional theatre spaces, elements or forms in themselves, and placed a huge emphasis on the direct relationship between actor and audience. These ideas are shared with Jerzy Grotowski.

"The Mahabharata"

In the mid 1970s,cite news | first=Joe | last=Morgenstern | coauthors= | title=Jean-Claude Carriere; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind - interview about the stage adaptation | date=April 17 1988 | publisher=New York Times | url =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE1DC143AF934A25757C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ] 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 [cite news | first=Jean-Claude | last=Carriere | coauthors= | title=Jean-Claude Carriere; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind - interview about the stage adaptation | date=September 1989 | publisher= | url =http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1310/is_1989_Sept/ai_8067489 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ] and then later into a televised mini series. The production using an international cast caused heated intercultural debate. Negative criticism came from Indian scholar Pradip Bhattacharya who felt that Brook's interpretation "was not a portrayal of a titanic clash between the forces of good and evil, which is the stuff of the epic... [but] the story of the warring progeny of some rustic landlord". [cite news | first=Pradip | last=Bhattacharya | coauthors= | title=Negative Criticism | date=November 2004 | publisher= | url =http://www.boloji.com/cinema/028.htm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ]

"Tierno Bokar"

In 2005 Brook directed "Tierno Bokar", based on the life of the Malian sufi of the same name. The play was adapted for the stage by Marie-Helene Estienne from a book by Amadou Hampate Ba (translated into English under ). 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. [Columbia University, "Record of Events", [http://www.tiernobokar.columbia.edu] ]

Work

Major productions for the RSC

*1950 "Measure for Measure" with John Gielgud (Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
*1952 "The Winter's Tale" with John Gielgud (Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
*1958 "Titus Andronicus" with Laurence Olivier (Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
*1962 "King Lear" with Paul Scofield
*1964 "Marat/Sade"
*1966 "US" an anti-Vietnam protest play with the The Royal Shakespeare Company, documented in the film "Benefit of the Doubt"
*1970 "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with John Kane (Puck), Jennie Stoller (Helena), Ben Kingsley and Patrick Stewart

Other major productions

* "Hamlet" with Paul Scofield
* "The Visit" with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
* "Marat/Sade"
* "Oedipus" with John Gielgud and Irene Worth
*"The Conference of the Birds"
* "The Ik"
* "The Mahabharata"

Filmography

*1953, "The Beggar's Opera"
*1960, "Moderato cantabile" (UK title "Seven Days... Seven Nights")
*1963, "Lord of the Flies"
*1967, "Ride of the Valkyrie"
*1967, "Marat/Sade"
*1968, "Tell Me Lies"
*1971, "King Lear"
*1979, "Meetings with Remarkable Men"
*1979, "Mesure pour mesure"
*1982, "La Cerisaie"
*1983, "La Tragédie de Carmen"
*1989, "The Mahabharata"
*2002, "The Tragedy of Hamlet" (TV)

Awards

*Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for "Marat/Sade", 1966 cite web|url=http://www.tonyawards.com/p/tonys_search?start=0&year=&award=&lname=Peter+Brook&fname=&show= |title=Tony Awards |accessdate=2008-02-13 ]
*Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for "A Midsummer Night's Dream", 1971
*Freiherr von Stein Foundation Shakespeare Award, 1973
*Grand Prix Dominique, 1975
*Brigadier Prize, 1975, for Timon of Athens
*Society of West End Theatre Award, 1983
*Emmy Award, 1984, for La tragédie Carmen
*Prix Italia, 1984
*International Emmy Award, 1990, for The Mahabharata
*Dan David prize, 2005
*On Monday August 18 2008 the actress Liv Ullmann informed in a press conference at the Nationaltheatret in Oslo that Peter Brook will receive The Ibsen Award for 2008. He will then be the first winner of the prize of NOK2.5 mill (apprixomately £200.000). The arrangement will find place in Oslo on August 31 during this year's Ibsen Festival. [cite web |last= |first= |title= British director wins the Ibsen Prize |publisher=Norway.org |url=http://www.norway.org/culture/literature/ibsen+prize.htm |accessdate=2008-08-21]

Honours

*Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1965
*Honorary DLitt, University of Birmingham, 1990
*Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1991
*Honorary DLitt, University of Strathclyde, 1990
*Honorary DLitt, University of Oxford, 1994
*Légion d'honneur (France), 1995
*Companion of Honour, 1998

Bibliography

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References

*Peter Brook, "Threads of Time" (1998)
*Lee Jamieson, "Antonin Artaud: From Theory to Practice" (Greenwich Exchange: London, 2007) Contains practical exercises on Artaud drawn from Brook's "Theatre of Cruelty Season" at the RSC. ISBN 978-1-871551-98-3
*John Heilpern, "Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa", Faber Book Services, 1977, ISBN 0571103723
*Dale Moffitt, "Between Two Silences: Talking with Peter Brook" (1999)
*Biographies by J. C. Trewin (1971) and A. Hunt and G. Reeves (1995) and Michael Kustow (2005)
*Andrew Todd and Jean-Guy Lecat, "The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments" (2003)
*Ouriel Zohar, "Meetings with Peter Brook", Zohar, Tel-Aviv 176 p. (1990) (He).

External links

* [http://www.dandavidprize.com/laureates/present2005.html Dan David Prize] , Dan David Prize laureate 2005
* [http://www.peterbrook.net Peter Brook official website]
* [http://www.brookdvd.com "meetings with remarkable men" - DVD release]
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* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hLni1arIeYM Screener for Brook by Brook]
* [http://www.experimentaltheatre.org/new_page_1.htm Peter Brook profile by Experimental Theatre Organization]


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