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|Also Known As:||Peter Stephen Paul Brook,Sir Peter Brook||Died:|
|Born:||March 21, 1925||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||London, England, GB||Profession:||Director ... director screenwriter stage designer producer playwright composer author editor|
The provocative productions of this renowned director (once described as a "traditionalist on the cutting edge") have been critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic and include such landmark work as 1966's "Marat/Sade," a 1970 staging of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and his adaptation of "The Mahabarata" The son of a Russian Jewish immigrant, Peter Brook began his career with an amateur feature-length film, "The Sentimental Journey" in 1943 and went on to craft training films for the British Army in the last years of WWII. His first professional assignment as a screen director came with an energetic adaptation of "The Beggar's Opera" (1953), starring Laurence Olivier. He earned international acclaim with the 1963 adaptation of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," about British schoolboys on a deserted island. Brook directed, adapted and edited this black-and-white film that played into his reputation for dealing thematically with story. He was less successful with the 1971 filming of "King Lear," starring Paul Scofield, which took two years to find a distributor. Brook wrote and directed "Meetings With Remarkable Men" (1979), based on the memoirs of G I Gurdjieff and also filmed his condensed, highly theatrical adaptation of Bizet's opera "La Tragedie de Carmen" (1983).
Whatever the reaction to his sporadic films, Brook is best known for his experimental theatrical productions wherein he has explored the relationship between the audience and the stage performance, through the conveyance of realism and the inner truth of the piece. Early in his career, Brook was director of productions for the Royal Opera House, and from 1962, co-director of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. In 1970, he moved to France and co-founded the International Center for Theatre Research, an entity dedicated to experiment with the medium. Among his many memorable productions were "Faust," for NYC's Metropolitan Opera Company in 1953; a 1955 "Hamlet" staged in Moscow; the musical "Irma La Douce" produced both in London and New York; "Marat/Sade" (1964); and "The Cherry Orchard" in Paris (1981) and New York (1988). More recently, he co-adapted and staged an acclaimed version of "The Mahabarata" (1989) which was released theatrically and later shown on PBS.
Brook is also a well-received author, penning a seminal study of theater, "The Empty Space," in 1968 and two memoirs, "The Shifting Point" (1988) and "Threads of Time" (1997).
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