The most recent work of theatre director Peter Brook (with the collaboration of Marie-Helène Estienne) is Battlefield, from The Mahabharata and the play by Jean-Claude Carrière.
A Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord creation, premiered at the end of 2015, and now on a world tour (with consecutive ‘tunings from performance to performance’, as is usual in Peter Brook’s method, he who accompanies and constantly re-works his plays as they are being staged), signals Peter Brook’s return to the sacred text of the Indian epic poem, The Mahabharata – which was at the root of his 1985 legendary nine-hour staging (and of a 1989 filmed version) – to turn it into a sort of a precipitate of rare purity, “an extremely distilled and intense play”, in his own words.
Battlefield begins where that long show ended, on that bloody ‘battlefield’ of the fratricide war that destroyed a family (the Bharata) and made “ten million dead people”, who could be, as Peter Brook says, evoking the modern context, those of Hiroshima, of the war in Syria or the victims of terrorism.
Four actors and a musician on stage, a “theatre of the world”, which distils the essence of a life’s search: “To me, theatre represents the chance to, during one hour or two, in a space of concentration, with the audience, take part in a shared experience, so that each one leaves nourished in his own reflection” (Peter Brook).
The international press and the public have been praising the play as "a miracle of wisdom and poetry", with a "flawless simplicity", masterfully "conceived, directed and acted".
Battlefield will be on stage at the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, on the 24th and 25th of November, at 9pm.
From The Mahabharata and the play by Jean-Claude Carrière
Adapted and staged by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne
Music Toshi Tsuchitori
Lights Philippe Vialatte
Wardrobe Oria Puppo
With Karen Aldridge, Edwin Lee Gibson, Jared McNeill, Sean O’Callaghan Musician Toshi Tsuchitori
A CICT – Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord production
Co-production Young Vic Theatre; Les Théâtres de la ville de Luxembourg; PARCO Co. Ltd. / Tokyo; Grotowski Institute; Singapore Repertory Theater; Théâtre de Liège; CIRT; Attiki Cultural Society and Le Cercle des Partenaires des Bouffes du Nord
Tickets available here
Picture: Carlos Alvar