Renowned theatre and film director Peter Brook, who is best known for his works like Lord of the Flies and the adaptation of Mahabharat on the stage, passed away on Saturday in Paris, according to the French media. He was 97. Peter Brook's publisher, Nick Hern Books, issued a statement on Sunday, and said that he "leaves behind an incredible artistic legacy." The acclaimed stage director, who was a Brit by birth, had been living in France for many years, with the news of his death leaving many from the world of art, cinema, and even world leaders in a state of sorrow.
Born in London in 1925, Peter studied at Oxford University, directed his first production titled Doctor Faustus, and later made a transition to the position of production director at the famous Royal Opera House before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). He won the illustrious Tony Award for Best Direction twice - for his staging of Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade (1966) and his stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1970). Furthermore, Peter also took home an Olivier Award, an Emmy, and an International Emmy over the course of his seven-decade career.
In India, Peter was known for his nine-hour multi-ethnic stage adaptation of the Mahabharat, which also featured large-scale sets and trapeze work, and earned him immense praise from critics. The stage show premiered at the Avignon festival in 1985 (it was performed in Adelaide in 1988 and filmed in 1989) and featured a cast from around the world that included names like Mallika Sarabhai as Draupadi and Ciaran Hinds as Ashwatthama. That being said, criticism was also leveled for the cultural appropriation in the production, with Brook acknowledging that the show "would never have existed without India'', while also stating at the same time that, "we had to avoid allowing the suggestion of India to be so strong as to inhibit human identification to too great an extent."
Outside of his extensive stage work, Peter also directed the acclaimed film adaptation of Lord of the Flies in 1963, which made him a popular name in cinema. He later released the Mahabharata as a five-hour film in 1989, while also forming the International Center for Theater Research upon moving to Paris in the 1970s.
05/07/2022 04:00 PM
05/07/2022 01:52 PM