Peter Brook passed away this Saturday. Death in the theatre, he had defeated. By killing what he called the “deadly theatre”, the “deadly theatre”. However, the British director knew that the only point where life differs from theatre, where it bifurcates, is time: The new leaves do not turn yellow, the pendulum does not go back, we will not be given a second chance. But in theatre, you write on a slate that you can always erase.” What he leaves us from the theatre, on the other hand, cannot vanish, as he has shaken it, worked on the body. He broke the chains and the walls.
Inspired throughout his life by Shakespeare, with whom he "entered the theatre" and whose madness and poetry he restored, with his fabulous Tempest, or The Midsummer Night’s Dream, he sought to produce a theatre that contained only man, a concrete theatre of meaning. So he worked to strip him, to make him naked and poor, in echo to Jerzy Grotowski, total and free, in echo to Antonin Artaud. With Peter Brook, everything is aggregated and becomes substance, dance, poetry, music, everything can be explored. In his theatre, one is disturbed and decadre, with the legendary Battlefield, written with his magic partner, Marie-Hélène Estienne, one visits and one travels, from Mozart and his Don Giovanni or his Magic Flute, to Chekhov, the author of his Russian origins who, Like him, probe matter to listen to the just beat of humanity.
His revolution, that genius of metamorphosis and diversity, led it with admirable constancy and delicacy. Throughout his life, he never ceased to deflect the illusion so that the real would appear, and to abolish the distances between senses, beings, genres and arts. Thanks to his inextinguishable curiosity and boundless soul, he captured the works of Mozart, but also of Gounod, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Bizet, and he adapted Marguerite Duras' Moderato Cantabile or William Golding’s cult book, His Majesty of the Flies.
With his Centre International de Créations Théâtrales, Peter Brook took the side and the practice of artistic cosmopolitanism, inviting African or Japanese actors to endorse universal characters and to reflect on stage the world. Not only does he use the stage to confuse elsewhere and here, notably with his memorable recreation of the book of Indian mythology, Mahabharata, but since it is an empty space, stripped of its codes, castes and colour, he moves it everywhere. On all the continents and the borders, that is to say all the places and places she had ignored. For three years, it has brought forth theatre in villages in Mali, Indian reserves, the Sahara, slums, homes of immigrants in the suburbs, hospitals, garages, businesses, abandoned sites, any ruin whose emptiness carries an infinite number of possibilities. As in the working-class district of the Chapelle in Paris, the Bouffes du Nord, the theatre that Peter Brook naturally invested in 1974. The eternal beauty of its decay, of its walls flayed by time, awaited the artist to give rise to unforgettable vertigo.
I extend my deepest condolences to his children, Irina and Simon Brook, and to all his loved ones.