Brook Revisits UK with Tragédie d'Hamlet & CostumeDate: 11 June 2003
Legendary director Peter Brook returns to the UK this summer. From tonight (11 June), Brook's acclaimed reworking of Shakespeare's Hamlet, re-titled The Tragedy of Hamlet (La Tragédie d'Hamlet), will play for four performances only in Warwick, while next month his production of Can Themba's South African township piece The Suit (Le Costume) comes back to London for a limited season at the Young Vic.
The Tragedy of Hamlet premiered in 2000 in Paris, where the British Brook has been based since the 1970s. Adapted and directed by Brook, more than a third has been cut from Shakespeare's original text and the cast reduced to just eight. The production had its London premiere at the Young Vic in August 2001, when it starred Adrian Lester, currently playing the title role in Henry V at the National (See News, 22 Jun 2001).
The production comes to Warwick Arts Centre for its only UK dates as part of a continuing worldwide tour. The international cast are Emile Abossolo-Mbo, Lilo Baur, Habibou Dembélé aka Guimba, Rachid Djaïdani, Bruce Myers, William Nadylam, Véronique Sacri and Antonin Stahly.
The Suit (Le Costume) tells the story of a bizarre ménage à trois - a husband, his wife and a suit. When the man catches his wife in the act, her lover flees but leaves behind his suit. In order to remind his wife forever of her infidelity, the husband keeps the suit, treating it as an honoured guest to the extent of feeding it and even taking it for walks.
Brook's Suit, which has also visited Warwick, was last aired in London in January 2001 at the Young Vic (See News, 23 Jan 2001), where it will return for a limited three-week season from 26 August 2003. Both it and The Tragedy of Hamlet are performed in French with English surtitles.
Peter Brook is one of Britain's most revered theatre directors, renowned for his experimental re-workings of classic texts. In the 1960s, he enjoyed a long association with the RSC, but by the early 1970s, Brook had moved towards an unconventional style that was often considered out of place at subsidised British theatres and in the West End. Since 1971, he has been based in Paris, where he's artistic director of the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.
Brook's many notable successes include celebrated productions of King Lear, Marat/Sade, Midsummer Night's Dream, The Cherry Orchard and Carmen. On screen, he is best known for directing the 1963 film adaptation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
- by Terri Paddock