Peter Brook was "the only one we have"

Peter Brook was “the only one we have”

“We weren’t crying one evening when the audience applauded,” Anne Concini, subtitled Anya in “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov (1981)

“I remember we used to train twelve hours a day, but we devoted three-quarters of the rehearsals to children’s games like candlelight, until the last day. I understood very well that it was about putting us all on the same level, and making us forget all of our experience and hierarchy and authority, through gestures Simple: greeting each other with a handshake as quickly as possible, for example. For me, who was no one and who had little experience, was unusual. Being a novice was no longer a sign of anything. I remember that three weeks ago For the first show, Peter Brook started bringing strange or unusual audiences into the room.He made us rehearse in front of a whole room of blind people, for example, or he invited all the merchants in his neighborhood.

Always three weeks before the premiere, he made us play in a school gymnasium in front of the kids, until we lost all direction. We didn’t have it behind the scenes, and the theater as we knew it didn’t exist anymore. We thought the show would never be ready, never decided. On the day of the premiere, we were in the cafe, we saw people queuing, and we were blown away. What were they doing? When we started playing, there wasn’t an evening when we didn’t cry so much, the audience applauded, stamped their feet, and we thought they’d break the stage. We were surprised at each performance by his feelings. I remember that the day before the premiere, Nils Aristrup asked Peter: “Do you think this will work?” Peter replied: “I don’t know, but anyway, it would be your fault.” stuck with me. He believed that there was never a bad audience, and that the actors were entirely responsible for the performance. I remember Empty spaceAnd his article and how we put in the blank space to make room for imagination. decor cherry orchardIt was just a rug, a rolled rug or a fallen rug. For all of us, it was our greatest theatrical emotion. Robert Morzo, who was a very old actor who played Fir, told me:You have no luck. Because when you start your acting life with Firs, you will always be disappointed.I was not always disappointed, but he was right: such an experience has never been found. One last time, before confinement, almost forty years after this first time, we ate dinner together with Peter. He was our only one.”

“He had a special genius in discovering what is alive in each of us,” François Marthuri, starring in Shakespeare’s play “Timon Dathes” (1973)

“The first meeting was backstage. I was 19 and I saw for the third time King Lear Peter was directed in English with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I was so upset that I slipped backstage and when I saw his character I rushed to kiss him. She ran away before he could say anything.

“The second meeting was in 1970, when he formed his troupe of actors from all over the world. The work was intense and open, he immersed us in the theater like a committed craftsman. He had a special genius in discovering what was more vibrant and mysterious in each of us, thanks to Exercises that have moved us toward the greatest fidelity. For me, Peter embodied the two essential qualities of theater: presence and imagination. It took me more than a year to be able to communicate with him. Of course the research was important and spread over several months without counting time. But it wasn’t about By working in a vacuum. During this period, some works were shown to the audience, because Peter declared that the theater exists only with this third partner, the audience. For example, we created Gaspard, Peter Handke’s play, in the most likely places, both at the Polytechnic and in the shantytowns. It was before he discovered, with Micheline Rosen, this ruined and deserted hall for ages, the Bouffes du Nord which he made the most beautiful theater in Paris and with which we inaugurated Timon Athena Shakespeare.

“The richness and brotherhood of this group, their toughness and our understanding when we all had completely different experiences, languages, and lives never ceased to amaze me. Peter was not a teacher. He was not an apostate, nor did he have a creed to teach us, because he was also searching. He knew how to do it so that we could work safely in the best possible conditions. Of course, he had this extraordinary culture and intelligence. But he was never motivated by a need for power. His demand was free from tyranny, though there was an iron force behind his kindness. He was a complete man, carried by a perpetual hatch. Until his last breath, Peter was a man who never lost his childhood. I love him so much.”

“I remember the faces of the actors in the salute,” actress Isabel Hubert

“The first big show I’ve ever seen was A Midsummer Night’s Dream With the Royal Shakespeare Company presented by Peter Brooke on a tour of the Theater of Nations [l’ancien nom du Théâtre de la ville, ndrl]. Fascinating. I remember the salute, the faces of the actors in the salute. bright faces. They were at the end of themselves. I was so amazed that I remembered it for a long time and this photo comes back to me strongly today. We felt they had just had an exceptional experience. Just like us… just like me…”

“His vision of the theater widened our minds”, Marily Marigny, actress, “The Storm Project” (2022)

“Having known Peter Brook, having worked with him on his last production with Marie Helen Estian, storm projectIt was the gift of life. He lit what he wants from you on the set, but always accurately. We owe him a lot: his vision of the theater has widened our minds. In rehearsals, not only was he present and energetic, his ears were very good. He knew how to direct the actor towards the primary.

“This Strict Freedom” David Jesselson, actor and director

I was twenty years old and was a junior student at the conservatory. Empty space, his article on theater that’s outdated since its 1977 debut, has been the book we read and reread frequently. A lane never ceased to inhabit me. This is the moment when Peter Brook makes it clear that he does not know if he will become a director. Someone’s reply: “You don’t need to know it. I decide it and then you become it. There are no prerequisites.” I don’t know anymore if that little voice is his double sound, but that freedom and that determination, like Peter Brook’s signature, surely works at his best. This rigor in freedom is unparalleled with lightness.

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