The Greatest Shows on Earth: World Theatre from Peter Brook by John Freeman

By John Freeman

Written from a number of perspectives—international actors, administrators, playwrights, teachers, dancers, and artists—this publication examines and celebrates 14 theater occasions from a dozen international locations. because it makes a case for what makes convinced theater productions nice, this checklist additionally bargains examples of writing approximately theater that imbues the analysis with emotion and documentation. From Peter Brook’s King Lear of 1962 via 2010’s Oberammergau Passionsspiele, the performances defined are seminal works certainly.

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Additional info for The Greatest Shows on Earth: World Theatre from Peter Brook to the Sydney Olympics

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This was filmed in front of a live audience with the original cast immediately after the production closed in the summer of 1981 in The Old Vic Theatre, London, whence the original set was transferred. Under the television direction of Jim Goddard what resulted is an excellent re-creation of the original staging, although the theatrical acting style does initially come over as somewhat stilted. † Given the existence of this DVD, what follows is not intended to be a comprehensive narrative description of the production, not least because of its length, but rather to focus on some of the elements that made it such a powerful and influential production.

And by a revival in 1964 as part of the RSC celebrations for the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Three Aldwych performances were followed by a tour of Europe and the US along with The Comedy of Errors, ambassadors for a company inspired by magnificent continental ensembles such as the Moscow Art Theatre and Berliner Ensemble and now placed on a par with its distinguished forebears. 17 The reception and subsequent commentary was divided in opinion, with what was probably the majority elated (albeit some of them rather tentatively so) while others, which included many powerful voices, believed the play to have been deformed.

Although Brook himself was not a company player, Lear helped promote the company as having decisively broken with the negative aspects of past bardolatry and establish itself as a large, publicly funded ensemble committed to the interaction of new plays and old. Appealing especially to a significant constituency which had enjoyed the post-war expansion of education and moves towards the democratisation of culture, the RSC’s ‘relevance’ and modernity, however diffuse and contradictory, did connect with the developing political tenor of the time, and Lear, along with productions such as The Wars of the Roses, was at the heart of this relationship.

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