Visionary British theater director Peter Brook dies at 97

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Peter Brook, one of the world’s most innovative theater directors who perfected the art of staging powerful dramas in bizarre locations, has died aged 97, his editor said Sunday.

The British director used the world as his stage-setting productions, from challenging versions of Shakespeare to international operas and Hindu epic poems.

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Brook has made plays in gymnasiums, deserted factories, quarries, schools and former gas plants in cities around the world.

His 1970 Stratford production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed all in white and with a huge wreath swing, secured his place in the annals of theater history.

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According to Le Monde, Brook – who had been based in France since 1974 – died in Paris on Saturday (2). A statement from his editor confirmed his death on Sunday.

Although Brook was regarded with admiration in theatrical circles, he was less well known among the general public because of his refusal to bow to commercial tastes. He left Britain to work in Paris in 1970.

He often shunned traditional theatrical buildings for the “empty space” that could be transformed by light, words, improvisation, and the sheer power of acting and suggestion.

“I can take any empty space and call it a stage,” he wrote in his groundbreaking 1968 book The Empty Space.

His quest for inspiration has taken him to places as far away as Africa and Iran and has produced a variety of original improvised pieces marked by his eye for detail and challenging approach.

Born in London on March 21, 1925, his father was a director of a company and his mother a scientist. He left school at age 16 to work in the film studio and then went to Oxford University and majored in English and Foreign Languages.

In 1970, he moved from Great Britain to work in Paris, founding the International Center for Theater Research, which brought together actors and designers of different nationalities.

Brook continued working into his nineties.

“Every form of theater has something in common with a visit to the doctor. When you leave, you should always feel better than when you walk in,” he wrote in his 2017 book ‘A Ponta da Língua’.

Source: CNN Brasil

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