"I have never believed in one single truth, whether it is mine or somebody else’s. I think that all schools and all theories can be useful in particular places and at given times.
But I think that the only way to live is to passionately, and absolutely, commit ourselves to one point of view.
In any case, as time goes by, and as we change, objectives vary and the point of view moves around. When I think of essays I have written and the ideas which have come to life in numerous places, something strikes me: there is a certain continuity.
For a point of view to have any useful purpose, you have to be completely committed to it and defend it to the death. And this even when a little voice is murmuring inside you at the same time "hold on tightly, let go lightly".
Extract from Peter Brook’s book The Shifting Point, Seuil Editions
Official website: www.newspeterbrook.com
Peter Brook was born in London in 1925 and has achieved distinction throughout his career in various disciplines: theatre, opera and literature.
He has directed numerous Shakespeare's plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company: Love’s Labours Lost (1946), Measure for Measure (1950), Titus Andronicus (1955), King Leare (1962),
Marat/Sade (1964), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1970) and Antony and Cleopatra (1978).
In 1971, Peter Brook and Micheline Rozan founded the International Centre for Theatre Research, which later became the International Centre for Creative Theatre once the Bouffes du Nord opened.
Its productions are noteworthy as regards their iconoclastic nature and their international scope: Timon of Athens (1974), The Ik (1975), Ubu at the Bouffes (1977),
The Conference of the birds (1979), The Bone (1979), The Cherry Orchard (1989), The Mahabharata (1985), Woza Albert ! (1989),
The Tempest (1990), The Man Who (1993), Who is there (1995), Oh ! Happy Days (1995), Je suis un Phénomène (1998),
The Suit (1999), The Tragedy of Hamlet (2000), Far Away (2002), The Death of Krishna (2002), Your hand in mine (2003),
Tierno Bokar (2004), The Grand Inquisitor (2005), Sizwe Banzi is dead (2006), Fragments - five short texts by Samuel Beckett (2007) and Warum Warum,
a theatrical study on Antonin Artaud, Gordon Craig, Charles Dullin, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Zeami Motokiyo and William Shakespeare (2008). More recently, Peter Brook has adapted a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets under the name of Love is my sin (2009).
He has directed several operas: La Bohème (1948), Boris Godounov (1948), The Olympiade (1949), Salome (1949) and The Marriage of Figaro (1949)
at Covent Garden theatre in London, Faust (1953), Eugene Onegin (1957) at the New York Metropolitan, The Tragedy of Carmen (1981) et Impressions of Pelleas (1992)
at the Bouffes du Nord and Don Giovanni (1998) Aix-en-Provence festival.
His main books are The Empty Space (1968), The Shifting Point (1987), Le Diable c’est l’Ennui (1991), Evoking Shakespeare (1998), Threads of Time (2003)
and With Grotowski (2009).
Peter Brook also directed Moderato Cantabile (1959), The Lord of the Flies (1963), Marat/Sade (1967), Le Roi Lear (1969), Meetings with Remarkable Men (1976)
and The Mahabharata (1989).
The Valley of Astonishment, written and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. With Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni and Jared McNeill. Musicians, Raphaël Chambouvet and Toshi Tsuchitori.
The Suit, by Can Themba, Mothobi Mutloatse and Barney Simon. Direction, adaptation and musical direction by Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne and Franck Krawczyk. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. Costumes designed by Oria Puppo.
A Magic Flute, from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Freely adapted by Peter Brook, Franck Krawczyk and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Directed by Peter Brook. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte.
Warum Warum, by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Based on the texts of Artaud, Gordon Craig, Dullin, Meyerhold, Motokiyo and William Shakespeare. Staged by Peter Brook. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. Music by Francesco Agnello. With Miriam Goldschmidt, Francesco Agnello.
Eleven and Twelve, based on the book by Amadou Hampaté Bâ. Adapted by Marie-Hélène Estienne and Peter Brook. Music designed by Toshi Tsuchitori. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. With Makram J. Khoury, Nyasha Hatendi, Tunji Lucas, Abdou Ouologuem, Jared McNeil, Khalifa Natour, César Sarachu and Maximilien Seweryn.
William Shakespeare’s Love is my sin. Staged by Peter Brook. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. With Natasha Parry and Bruce Myers.
Samuel Beckett’s Fragments. Staged by Peter Brook. In collaboration with Lilo Baur, Marie-Hélène Estienne. Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte. With Jos Houben, Marcello Magni and Kathryn Hunter.
Sizwe Banzi is dead, by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona.
French adaptation by Marie-Hélène Estienne. Directed by Peter Brook
Lighting designed by Philippe Vialatte
. With Habib Dembélé and Pitcho Womba Konga.
The Grand Inquisitor (in English).
The Grand Inquisitor, after Dostoïevski’s The Brothers Karamazov. With Maurice Bénichou and Ken Higelin.
Tierno Bokar, from Vie et enseignement by Tierno Bokar de Amadou Hampaté Bâ.
The Grand Inquisitor, from Dostoïevski’s The Brothers Karamazov.
Your hand in mine, by Carol Rocamora.
Glüchliche Tage (Oh Happy Days, by S. Beckett). Kaserne Basel, Suisse.
The Death of Krishna, extract from Vyasa’s Mahabharata de Vyasa. With Maurice Bénichou.
The Tragedy of Hamlet (in French), based on W. Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Far Away, by Caryl Churchill.
The Tragedy of Hamlet (in English), based on W. Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
The Suit, by Can Themba.
Je suis un phénomène based on Alexander Luria’s Mind of a Mnemonists
L'Homme qui, a remake of Oliver Sacks The Man Who.
Who is there, based in the texts of Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Gordon Craig, Meyerhold, Stanislavski and Seami.
Samuel Beckett’s Oh Happy Days, by Samuel Beckett. Coproduced by Vidy ETE - Lausanne.
The Man who, based on The man who mistook his wife for a hat by Oliver Sacks.
The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
Woza Albert ! by Percy Mtawa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon.
The Cherry Orchard, by A. Tchekhov. Majestic Theatre, Brooklyn.
The Mahabharata. Written at the 39th Avignon Festival.
Tchin Tchin (Cheers), by F. Billetdoux. Montparnasse Theatre, Paris.
The Cherry Orchard, by A. Tchekhov.
The Conference of the Birds, from F. Uddin Attar.
The Bone, by B. Diop.
Mesure for Mesure, by W. Shakespeare. Bouffes du Nord Theatre, Paris.
Antony and Cleopatra, by W.Shakespeare. Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon. With Paola Dionisotti, Alan Howard, Glenda Jackson, Jonathan Pryce and Patrick Stewart. Coproduced with the Festival d'Automne (the Autumn Festival).
Ubu at the Bouffes, after Alfred Jarry. Bouffes du Nord Theatre, Paris.
The Iks, by Colin Turnbull. Bouffes du Nord Theatre, Paris.
Timon of Athens, by W. Shakespeare, Bouffes du Nord Theatre, Paris.
Voyage to the USA
Travelling in Africa
A Midsummer Night's Dream. by W. Shakespeare. New York and world tour.
Orghast, by Ted Hughes. Persepolis Festival, Iran.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon.
Frances de la Tour. With Alan Howard, John Kane, Sarah Kestelman and Ben Kingsley.
Oedipus, by Seneca. National Theatre, London.
The Tempest, by W. Shakespeare. RST, Aldwych Theatre, London. With Robert Langton Lloyd, Yoshi Ouida and Natasha Parry.
US. RST, Aldwych Theatre, London, with Glenda Jackson, Robert Langton Lloyd, Clifford Rose and Michael Williams.
The Investigation, by Peter Weiss. RSC, Aldwych Theatre, London and New York.
Marat-Sade, by P. Weiss. RST, Aldwych Theatre, London, New York. With Glenda Jackson, Robert Langton Lloyd, Patrick Magee, Ian Richardson and Michael Williams.
The Screens, by Jean Genet. Donmar Theatre, London.
Sergent Musgrave’s Dance, by J. Arden. Athénée Theatre, Paris.
The Physicists, by Friedrich Durrenmatt. RST, Aldwych Theatre, London.
The Deputy, de R. Hochhuth. Athénée Theatre, Paris.
King Lear, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon, London and New York. With Alec McCowen, Ian Richardson, Diana Rigg, Paul Scofield and Irene Worth.
The Balcony, by Jean Genet. Théâtre du Gymnase, Paris.
Irma la Douce, musical. Lyric Theatre, London.
The Fighting Cock, by Jean Anouilh. New York. Rex Harrison and Natasha Parry.
View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller. Antoine Theatre, Paris.
The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt. New York and London.
The Tempest, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon. John Gielgud.
Both Ends Meet. Apollo Theatre, London.
A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller. Comedy Theatre, London.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams. Antoine Theatre, Paris. With Jeanne Moreau.
The Power and the Glory, from Graham Greene. Phoenix Theatre, London. With Paul Scofield.
The Family Reunion, by T. S. Eliot. Phoenix Theatre, London. With Gwen Frangcon-Davies and Paul Scofield.
The Lark by Jean Anouilh. Lyric, London. With Dorothy Tutin.
Titus Andronicus, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon. With Vivien Leigh, Sir Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quayle.
Hamlet, by W. Shakespeare. Phoenix Theatre, London, Moscow Arts Theatre, Moscow. With Alec Clunes, Paul Scofield and Mary Ure.
The Dark is Light Enough, by Christopher Fry. Aldwych Theatre, London. With Edith Evans.
House of Flowers, by Truman Capote. Music by Harold Arlen. New York. With Pearl Bailey.
Venice Preserved, by Thomas Otway. Lyric Theatre, London. With John Gielgud and Paul Scofield.
Colombe, by Jean Anouilh. New Theatre, London.
Death of a Salesman, National Theatre, Brussells. With Yvonne Arnaud, Joyce Redman.
Penny for a Song, by John Whiting.
Penny for a Song, by John Whiting. Haymarket Theatre, London. With Virginia McKenna and Alan Webb.
A Winter’s Tale, by W. Shakespeare. Phoenix Theatre, London. With John Gielgud and Flora Robson.
Ring Round the Moon, by Jean Anouilh. Globe Theatre, London. With Claire Bloom, Paul Scofield and Margaret Rutherford.
Measure for Measure, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford-upon-Avon. With John Gielgud, and Barbara Jeffor.
The Little Hut, by A. Roussin. Lyric Theatre, London. With Robert Morley and Joan Tetzel.
Dark of the Moon, by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Ambassador’s Theatre, London. With William Sylvester and Sheila Burrell.
Romeo et Juliette, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon. With Paul Scofield.
The Respectful P...., by Jean-Paul Sartre. Lyric Theatre, London.
Love’s Labour’s Lost, by W. Shakespeare. Stratford upon Avon. With Paul Scofield.
The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoevsky, adapted by A. Guinness. Lyric Theatre, London.
The Vicious Circle, by Jean-Paul Sartre. Arts Theatre, London. With Alec Guinness.
Man and Superman, by B. Shaw.
King John, by W. Shakespeare, with Paul Scofield and Denis Quilley.
The Lady from the Sea, by H. Ibsen with Paul Scofield. Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
The Infernal Machine, by Jean Cocteau. Chanticleer Theatre Club, London.
Dr. Faustus, by C. Marlowe at the Torch Theatre, London.
The tragedy of Hamlet (TV film), 35mm, colour, 132mn. With Adrian Lester, Natasha Parry, Bruce Meyers and Shantala Shivalingappa.
Times Flies, documentary on The Lord of the Flies. BBC Films.
The Mahabharata, 35mm, colour, 171mn. Screenplay by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière. With Georges Corraface (DURYODHANA), Andrzej Seweryn (YUDHISHTIRA), Sotigui Kouyate (BHISHMA / PARASHURAMA), Vittorio Mezzogiorno (ARJUNA), Bruce Myers (GANESHA / KRISHNA), Yoshi Oida (DRONA / KICHAKA), and Robert Langdon Lloyd (Vyasa).
The Tragedy of Carmen, 3 versions based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée. Music by Georges Bizet. Screenplay by Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière and Marius Constant. With Hélène Delavault (Carmen, 1st film), Zehava Gal (Carmen, 2nd film), Eva Saurova (Carmen, 3rd film), Howard Hensel (Don José, 1st film), Laurence Dale (Don José, 2nd film).
Meetings with Remarkable Men, 35mm, colour, 108mn. Screenplay by Jeanne de Salzmann and Peter Brook. Music by Thomas de Hartmann and Laurence Rosenthal. With Dragan Maksimovic, Terence Stamp, Mikica Dimitrijevic, Athol Fugard, Gerry Sundquist, Warren Mitchell, Bruce Myers, Donald Sumpter, Natasha Parry, Tom Fleming, Colin Blakeley and Sami Tahasuni.
King Lear, 35mm - black and white - 131mn. With Cyril Cusack (Albany), Susan Engel (Regan), Tom Fleming (Kent), Anne-Lise Gabold (Cordelia), Ian Hogg (Edmund), Søren Elung Jensen (Duke of Burgundy), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Edgar), Jack MacGowran (Fool), Patrick Magee (Cornwall), Paul Scofield (King Lear), Barry Stanton (Oswald), Alan Webb (Gloucester) and Irene Worth (Goneril).
Marat-Sade, 35mm, colour, 120 mn. By Peter Weiss. Screenplay by Adrian Mitchell and Peter Brook. With Patrick Magee (Marquis de Sade), Ian Richardson (Jean-Paul Marat), Michael Williams (Herald), Clifford Rose (Monsieur Coulmier),Glenda Jackson (Charlotte Corday), Freddie Jones (Cucurucu), Hugh Sullivan (Kokol), John Hussey (Newly Rich Lady), William Morgan Sheppard (A Mad Animal), Jonathan Burn (Polpoch), Jeanette Landis (Rossignol), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Jacques Roux), John Steiner (Monsieur Dupere), James Mellor (Schoolmaster), Henry Woolf (Father), John Harwood (Voltaire), Leon Lissek (Lavoisier), Susan Williamson (Simone Evrard), Carol Raymont (Patient), Mary Allen (Patient), Brenda Kempner (Madame Coulmier), Mark Jones (Mother), Maroussia Frank (Patient), Tamara Fuerst (Patient), Sheila Grant (Patient), Lynn Pinkney (Patient), Ian Hogg (Military Representative), Ruth Baker (Mademoiselle Coulmier) Michael Farnsworth (Patient), Guy Gordon (Patient), Michael Percival (Patient), Heather Canning (Nun) and Jennifer Tudor (Nun).
Tell me Lies, 35mm, colour and black and white, 118mn. With Mark Jones (Mark), Pauline Munro (Pauline), Eric Allan (Guest), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Bob), Mary Allen, Ian Hogg (Guest), Glenda Jackson (Guest), Joanne Lindsay (Guest), Hugh Sullivan (Guest), Kingsley Amis (Guest), Peggy Ashcroft, James Cameron (Guest), Stokely Carmichael (Guest), Tom Driberg (Guest) and Paul Scofield.
The Lord of the Flies, based on the book by William Golding, 35mm, black and white, 91 mn. With James Aubrey (Ralph), Tom Chapin (Jack), Hugh Edwards (Piggy), Tom Gaman (Simon), David Surtees (Sam), Simon Surtees (Eric), and Roger Elwin (Roger).
Moderato Cantabile, based on the book by Marguerite Duras, 35mm, black and white, 92 mn. With Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Didier Haudepin, Pascale de Boysson and Jean Deschamps.
The Beggar’s Opera, 35mm, colour, 94mn. Screenplay by Christopher Fry, Denis Cannan and John Gay. Music by Arthur Bliss. With Laurence Olivier (Captain MacHeath), Hugh Griffith (The Beggar), George Rose (1st Turnkey), Stuart Burge (1st Prisoner), Cyril Conway (2nd Prisoner), Gerald Lawson (3rd Prisoner), Amanda Harley (Young Female Traveller), Dorothy Tutin (Polly Peachum), George Devine (Peachum), Mary Clare (Mrs. Peachum), Edward Pryor (Filch), Athene Seyler (Mrs. Trapes), Stanley Holloway (Mr. Lockit), Daphne Anderson (Lucy Lockit), Eric Pohlmann (Inn Keeper), Yvonne Furneaux (Jenny Diver) and Kenneth Williams.
A Sentimental Journey.
A Magic Flute, adapted from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Bouffes du Nord Theatre, Paris.
Don Giovanni, by Mozart. Produced at the 50th International Lyrical Art Festival, Aix-en-Provence.
Impressions of Pelleas, by Debussy.
The Tragedy of Carmen, by Bizet. Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Centre, New York.
Eugene Oneguin, by P.I Tchaikowsky. Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Faust, by C. Gounod. Metropolitan Opera, New York.
The Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart. Covent Garden, London.
Salome, by R. Strauss. Covent Garden, London.
The Olympians, by A. Bliss. Covent Garden, London.
Boris Godounov, by Moussorgsky. Covent Garden, London.
La Bohème, by Puccini. Covent Garden, London.
With Grotowski by Peter Brook and Georges Banu, Actes Sud Papiers, Paris.
Climat de confiance, L'Instant Même, Québec.
The Shifting Point, Harper and Row, New York.
Threads of Time (autobiography), Counterpoint, Washington DC.
Evoking Shakespear (four interviews with Peter Brook), Nick Hern Books, London.
Between two silences by Peter Brook et Marie-Hélène Estienne, Southern Methodist University Press.
Le Diable, c'est l'ennui discussions on theatre, with Jean-Gabriel Carasso and Jean-Claude Lallias, Actes Sud Papiers, Paris.
The Man who followed by Je suis un phénomène by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, Actes Sud Papiers, Paris.
The Empty Space, Seuil Editions, Paris.