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Book Title: The Open Door|
The author of the book: Peter Brook
ISBN 13: 9781400077878
Date of issue: January 4th 2005
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.78 MB
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From King Lear to the Tragedy of Carmen, from Marat/Sade to the epic Mahabharata, Peter Brook has reinvented modern theatre, not once but again and again. In The Open Door the visionary director and theorist offers a lucid, comprehensive exposition of the philosophy that underlies his work.
It is a philosophy of paradoxes: We come to the theatre to find life, but that life must be different from the life we find outside. Actors have to prepare painstakingly yet be willing to sacrifice the results of their preparation. The director’s most reliable tool may be his capacity to be bored. Brook illustrates these principles with anecdotes that span his entire career and that demonstrate his familiarity with Shakespeare, Chekhov, and the indigenous theatres of India and Iran. The result is an unparalleled look at what happens both onstage and behind the scenes, fresh in its insights and elegant in its prose.
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Read information about the authorPeter Brook (born 1925) was a world renowned theater director, staging innovative productions of the works of famous playwrights.
Peter Brook was born in London in 1925, the son of immigrant scientists from Russia. A precocious child with a distaste for formal education but a love of learning, Brook performed his own four-hour version of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the age of seven. After spending two years in Switzerland recovering from a glandular infection, Brook became one of the youngest undergraduates at Oxford University. At the same time he wrote scripts for television commercials and introduced to London audiences his first professional stage production, Marlowe's Dr. Faustus.
Brook, called the "golden boy," did his first production at Stratford Theatre, one of the world's most prestigious stages, at the young age of 21. It was Shakespeare's Loves Labours Lost. He spent the next several years staging acclaimed productions of plays. He worked at the Covent Garden directing opera, as well as designing the sets and costumes for his productions. Always seeking innovations and styles which would make his productions speak to modern audiences, he ended this experience with opera by calling it "deadlytheater." He directed plays with prominent actors, including Laurence Olivier in Titus Andronicus and Paul Schofield in King Lear. (Brook also directed the film version of this production.) In 1961 Peter Brook directed one of his seven films, the chilling Peter Shaffer adaptation of Lord of the Flies.
Despite his successes and the fact that he was named as one of the directors of the famous Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962, Brook continued to seek out alternative ways to create vibrant, meaningfultheater. This search led him to direct a season of experimental theater with the Royal Shakespeare Company in which he was free from the commercial constraints of box office concerns. The season was called "Theatre of Cruelty," a name taken from the works of Antonin Artaud, one of this century's most influentialtheater men. Brook's desire was to turn away from stars and to create an ensemble of actors who improvised during a long rehearsal period in a search of the meaning of "holytheater."
Out of this search would come the director's finest work. In 1964 Brook directed Genet's The Screens and Peter Weiss' Marat Sade, for which he received seven major awards and introduced Glenda Jackson to the theater. Influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Artaud, Marat Sade shocked the audience with its insane asylum environment. In 1966 he developed US, a play about the Vietnam experience and the horrors of war. The production reflected a collective statement by all of the artists involved and was certainly a departure from traditional theater. Jerzy Grotowski, one of the most important theater directors of this century and a man who profoundly influenced Brook, came to work with the company during this production. Brook also did an adaptation of Seneca's Oedipus by Ted Hughes, a renowned English poet who continued to collaborate with the director for many years. The culmination of this phase of Brook's work was hisproduction of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1970). Using trapezes, juggling, and circus effects, Brook and his actors created a sense of magic, joy, and celebration in this interpretation of Shakespeare's play. It was a masterpiece of thetheater.
After this highly successful production, Brook went to Paris and founded the International Center of Theatre Research. He wanted to find a new form of theater that could speak to people worldwide--theater which was truly universal. He also wanted to work in an environment of unlimited rehearsal time in order to allow for a deep search-of-self for all involved. The firstproduction that came out of this third phase was Orghast (1971), which employed a new language based on sound developed by Ted Hughes. This production, performed at the ruins of Persepolis in Persia, used actors from many differ
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