For the casual (or non) theatre goer, the name Peter Brook might not raise much of an eyebrow. But for those in the know, the 84 year old director is one of the true icons of modern theatre. Here’s why you should care:
1. The most important one is that he’s currently in Kilkenny preparing to take to the Watergate Theatre stage with his newest production Love Is My Sin. This performance is the jewel in the theatrical crown of the 2009 Kilkenny Arts Festival.
2. His seminal 1968 book, The Empty Space, regarded as one of the defining texts on modern theatre practice, has been translated into over 15 languages. The book can usually be found in the hands of any self respecting theatre student worldwide.
3. His very first performance was said to be a production of Hamlet, aged 7, with himself in all the roles. He performed this specially for his parents. He didn’t make a single change to the text. Nor was it abridged. A sign of things to come…
4. He became Director Of The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962 and held the position for over 2 decades, creating some of the most important work ever seen on a British stage in the process.
5. In this time he worked with actors such as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Paul Scofield and most famously directed iconic productions of Shakesperean classics such as Titus Andronicus, King Lear, Measure For Measure and most famously, his revolutionary performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1970.
6. This play, along with a production of Marat/Sade in 1966 bagged him two Tony Awards for Best Director (Dramatic)
7. In 1951, Peter Brook married Natasha Parry. They remain married to this day and along with Bruce Myers she will be performing Love Is My Sin, a selection of Shakespearean sonnets, in the Watergate Theatre for 3 nights this week.
8. In 1970, he co-founded the International Centre For Theatre Research with Micheline Rozan. It is currently based in the Bouffes du Nord Theatre in Paris. The man himself has been based there ever since.
9. In a rare recent interview with the Irish Times about his upcoming Kilkenny shows, Brook gave an insight into his attitude towards rehearsals and performance: “A play should never be its best in rehearsal – that’s a horrific idea – and the first night should never be the best night either. It’s when you travel around the world, in front of different audiences, and the work is changing all the time – that’s the exciting, the vital, the most important thing.”
10. Love Is My Sin is a true theatrical event. And Peter Brook is a true theatrical giant. And so, this performance is not to be missed. A major coup for the Kilkenny Arts Festival, Love Is My Sin will play in The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from tomorrow, August 13th until Saturday August 15th at 8pm nightly. Tickets can be procured on the Kilkenny Arts Festival Box Office in Parliament Street on 056 – 7752175. We’re getting in line right now. We suggest you do too.