Director Spotlight #3: Meet Dominic D’Andrea & I’m Back to Brook
Back To Brook: I’m also 2/3 of the way through re-reading Peter Brook’s 1968 work, The Empty Space. It’s amazing how a book can register so differently with you at different stages of your life. It had been a decade since I last read this, and I now feel compelled to re-visist about a dozen other books from my college days. One of Brook’s most noted contributions to 20th c. theatre was infusing new life into Shakespeare productions, and almost every remark he makes about Shakespeare in The Empty Space is quote-worthy. As someone with a sensibility split between early modern drama and more experimental work of the mid-20th c. to the present day, I really appreciate Brook’s defense of and innovation with Shakespeare.
Here’s a notable passage:
“Shakespeare is a model of a theatre that contains Brecht and Beckett, but goes beyond both. Our need in the post-Brecht theatre is to find a way forwards, back to Shakespeare. … It is through the unreconciled opposition of Rough and Holy, through an atonal screech of absolutely unsympathetic keys that we get the disturbing and the unforgettable impressions of his plays. It is because the contradictions are so strong that they burn on us so deeply.”
*Photo from Brook’s 1970 production of Midsummer Night’s Dream for Royal Shakespeare Theatre.