Nabil Naoum writes: Peter Brook

Nabil Naoum writes: Peter Brook

Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2022 – 6:47 PM | Last update: Friday, July 29, 2022 – 6:47 PM

At the beginning of July this year, director of the international theater, Peter Brook, passed away at the age of 97. To the end, he always strived towards self-knowledge and compatibility with oneself, with the belief in the necessity of defending freedom, tolerance and exerting effort, even if it was hard to rise to the spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual level. Therefore, he paid great attention to Sufi schools with the diversity of their sources. Peter Brook would like to help viewers of his works think and share positive and intelligent understanding, to reach a degree of a more spacious and perfect humanity, through his method influenced by the blending of cultures, civilizations, myths and folk art, as well as music, ballet and dance. As for the many theatrical scripts he chose since his early beginnings, he relied in directing them on the circulation of texts in simple ways, relying on his innovations, and on the ingenuity of embodying actors, without paying attention to decorations. in the minds of the public.
He refused to be called the guru or “guru”, preferring to be considered only a man of theater and experience.
Brooke was born in 1925 and since 1945 was interested in avant-garde theater and directed plays by Jean Cocteau, Jean Paul Sartre, Jean Inouye, Arthur Miller, Jean Janet and Peter Weiss, but at the same time he did not stop his keen interest in William Shakespeare’s theater. He has always seen it as an inexhaustible source of innovation. Brooke was not only interested in theatre, operas and movies were among his prolific productions. In 1953 he directed a movie about King Lear by Shakespeare, and the lead role was played by the winning actor and director Orson Welles. He also directed a film in 1960 on the novel “Moderato Cantabel” by French author Marguerite Dora, starring Jean-Paul Bolmondo and Jean Moreau at the time. In 1967, he directed the wonderful movie “Mara S”, based on a play written by Peter Weiss, the German author and published in 1963, in which the revolutionary Jean-Paul Mara, the doctor and political theorist during the French Revolution, is murdered by Charlotte Cordet. Not at his home, as in reality, but in the play among the inmates of the Charenton psychiatric hospital under the direction of the Marquis de Sade. The play deals with the disappointment experienced by many of the revolutionaries who carried out the French Revolution, especially after the alliances between the petty bourgeoisie and the financiers installed it, amid sharp discussions between the revolutionary Jean Paul Marat and the liberal nihilist Marquis de Sade.
In 1979, he directed the movie “Meeting with Important Men” based on a book by the Russian philosopher, teacher, spiritual guide and psychologist George Gurdjieff, which influenced Peter Brook and his philosophical school, which is interested in intellectual and physical practices, combining dance, yoga, mental exercises and sports. In this book, as in the movie, there is a section about the hero’s visit to Egypt and his meeting with some spiritual guides and learning from them some cosmic secrets.
Among what Peter Brook left the important book “The Empty Space”, which he published in 1969, for those interested in theater, and in the book he stresses the lack of importance of decorations, as the actor is responsible for filling the space of the theater, which in turn may be any place sufficient to include actors and spectators. The book also deals with the architectural problems of theatrical spaces and spaces. The able translator and critic Farouk Abdel Qader translated the book into Arabic and was published in the series of Al Hilal magazine in 1986. The critic and translator Farouk Abdel Qader also published Peter Brook’s book “The Turning Point” in 1991 through the Kuwaiti Knowledge World series: No. 154. Peter Brook says about the director’s job in this book: “The director exists to put the various elements at his will: lights, colours, costumes, makeup, alongside the text and performance, and then plays them all as if it were a keyboard. This is the concept of a comprehensive theater based on three basic pillars: the text, the actor and the audience, but the director is the effective element because he transforms the readable literary creative text into a scenographic text.
Brooke’s fundamental renewal stems from the expansion of the theatrical space by introducing African and oriental theatrical forms. He borrowed performative elements from different cultures in his quest to develop the art of Western theater with the help of a number of actors such as Yoshi Oda from Japan, Akram Khan, a Briton of Bengali origin, and Sutigui Kouyate from Mali. Brooke sought to rid drama of narrative speech to rely on dramatic action and benefit from other arts, adopting the theories of experimental theater by creators such as Antonin Artaud, Grotovsky, Brecht, Meyerhold, and others. In 2005, he presented the play “Terno Pocar”, which bears the name of the Malian mystic 1875-1939, who spent his life teaching the message of religious tolerance.
Brooke applied his theory of the possibility of performing theatrical performances outside the traditional theater halls, where he performed theatrical performances in open spaces, as in the quarry of Belbon near Avignon in France, or on the sand in African countries, and so when he bought the Boulevé des Nords theater in the north of Paris in 1971 Where he established the “International Center for Theater Research”, he renewed the old theater, which had been completely neglected, but kept the high walls of the theater free from traditional decorations.
“Mahabharata” is one of Peter Brook’s most famous works. It is a 9-hour epic of Hindu mythology, prepared by the famous French writer Jean-Claude Carrier, and presented for the first time in 1985 at the famous Avignon Theater Festival in Balbon Quarry, and it was adapted for cinema in 1989. It was presented The play was presented in many countries of the world and continued for about 4 years. The show in Avignon featured 21 representatives from 16 countries. The epic play is based on the conflict between two groups of cousins ​​and the bloody wars between them with many side stories and judgment. The basic line is the “sacred duty”, as every person must fulfill his religious duty by submitting to the role that he was destined to play during his life, by being born into a certain group or class, rewarding those who performed his role well, and punishing the violators. The Mahabharata is considered the longest epic in human history, with more than 74,000 verses, and it is one of the main sources for the development of the Hindu religion. On the other hand, the epic, with its multiple characters, symbolizes the various aspects of the human conscience, as well as the cruelty and ferocity of wars that are still annihilating and displacing many for the sake of power, prestige, wealth and the dream of restoring the glories of the first kings and emperors.

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