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How do you think that Peter Brook has employed the ideas/techniques of the practitioners detailed in Mitter's study? With reference to Brook's own writings, particularly The Shifting Point.

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Introduction

10119319 DRA2001 How do you think that Peter Brook has employed the ideas/techniques of the practitioners detailed in Mitter's study? Please refer to Brook's own writings, particularly The Shifting Point, in answering this question. Peter Brook is one of the world's most famous directors and has much in-depth knowledge and experience of the theatre. "Brook is a key figure in modern theatre, building on the innovations of earlier practitioners ... and continuing that uniquely twentieth century institution, the director's theatre." (Halfyard, 2000:http://www.maxopus.com/essays/8songs_m.htm) Brook is known as "the leading director of his generation" (Peter Hall) and he claims he can take any empty space and call it a bare stage, but where did he get his inspiration? Who are his influences? In this essay, I am going to try and find any similarities between Brook's theatre techniques and those of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Bertolt Brecht and Jerzy Grotowski. I am looking for if he has more preference towards one of these directors or uses a combination of each of their rehearsal methods with his actors. Shomit Mitter's study, Systems of Rehearsal, looks at the process of rehearsal according to Brook, associating his rehearsal techniques with those created by Stanislavsky, Grotowski and Brecht. ...read more.

Middle

(Brook, 1987:232) At a first glance, this seems a very spiritual statement from Brook, but through reading it again it shows him trying to replace honesty (from the character) with words spoken with deep meaning (from the actor). Although this is only my personal interpretation. Throughout this chapter in The Shifting Point, I noticed that he is constantly asking us, the reader, questions about acting and the theatre. At times he answers with his ideas, telling us his methods and ideas, when he does answer you can almost hear him shouting, preaching the answers to the reader, which just shows how passionate he is about his theatre. "Grotowski is unique. Why? Because no one else in the world, to my knowledge, no one since Stanislavsky, has investigated the nature of acting, its phenomenon, its meaning, the nature and science of its mental-physical-emotional processes as deeply and completely as Grotowski." (Brook, 1987:37) This extract shows that although Brook has much in common theatrically with Stanislavsky, he has now met someone who uses similar methods but in Brook's eyes, uses these methods in a better way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through these, through sympathy, through respect, we came together." (Brook, 1987:38) Brook utilises various methods from Stanislavsky and Brecht, but there are also disagreements with their methods: "There is so much of Brecht's work I admire, so much of his work with which I disagree totally." (Brook, 1987:26-27) Like anybody who has a passion for something, whether it is art, sport or theatre, Brook has looked to his passion, theatre, and it's innovations and predecessors. Brook has took the essential elements from these practitioners and made them his own. The way Brook regularly asks the questions in his books to the reader, does bring the whole text to life as if he is testing the reader on what they have just read; you could even compare it to an exam revision textbook. Obviously this is not what the genres of his books are about, both The Shifting Point and The Empty Space are autobiographies of his life in theatre; part of the title of The Shifting Point even says forty years of theatrical exploration. I feel all of his works in text are learning resources, not just for drama students, but also for anybody who enjoys the theatre to show them the hidden depth of performance, not just linked with the acting- all the elements that make an ideal, true-to-life or alienating performance. ...read more.

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