Hamlet in Pieces: Shakespeare Revisited by Peter Brook, Robert Lepage and Robert Wilson

Full Title Hamlet in Pieces: Shakespeare Revisited by Peter Brook, Robert Lepage and Robert Wilson
ISBN 0826413323
ISBN13 9780826413321
Publisher Continuum International Publishing Group
Authors Andy Lavender
Edition 1ST CONTIN

Within the space of a year, between 1995 and 1996, three highly unusual shows were produced by three celebrated figures in world theatre: Qui Est La, directed by Peter Brook, Elsinore, directed by Robert Lepage, and Hamlet: a monologue, directed by Robert Wilson. Each was a version-at least in part-of Shakespeare's Hamlet, although none of them treated the show in anything like an orthodox manner. [Steph: cut this second paragraph if there isn't enough room]Peter Brook, born in 1925 and based in Paris since 1970, hardly needs an introduction, considered by many to be the foremost British director of our time. Theater for Brook is a means of accessing, displaying, and drawing audiences into universal structures, which are always mythic and metaphorical. Robert Lepage, born in 1957, and notoriously internationalist, is adept at using improvisation as a basis for creativity. Lepage is a pioneer of mixed-media performance, in particular involving video and slide projection in his shows. Robert Wilson, born in 1944, is a director-scenographer-lighting designer, unquestionably in charge of the visual realm of each of his productions. His particular brand of visually arresting neo-surrealism, more than any other established theater artist, rejects the claims of representation in favor of pure presentation. All three directors have forged careers out of very personal signatures, each has received extensive treatment by critics and scholars alike, and while they are viewed as auteurs, all three are expert facilitators of the work of a range of collaborators. That has always been part of the director's role, but the fact that all three function as both collaborator and co-creator removes the making of theater from the traditional playwright-director duopoly, and these newly devolved responsibilities make for innovative theater-making.In a sense, this book is in part about theater direction at a time when directorial practices are in a state of transition, but it is also about these interpretations of Shakespeare's Hamlet. In the words of Lavender, the coincidence of these three approaches seemed too good to miss. In writing this book, Lavender set out to find out how the shows were made, wanting to demystify the process in order to reveal the working practices of the three directors, as well as to address issues of theater-making more generally. He seeks to discover what made three of the leading directors in international theater turn to Shakespeare's play at the same time. Each of the three productions examined found Hamlet's themes of incest, madness, fratricide, contemplation, and play-acting especially modern. Taken together, they might suggest a late-twentieth-century fascination with the existential and psychological strands of the play, and with the business of being theatrical. This points toward the resonance of Hamlet at a millennial moment, but the contiguity of the three productions also speaks for the processes by which they were made, and, Lavender argues, offers larger insight into turn-of-the-millennium theatre.Peter Brook's comment about his own production, Qui Est La, could certainly be applied to all three plays: Our group of actors, which is an international group, coming together round the play that is perhaps the best-known play in the world, can't fail to find that this evokes all sorts of immediate questions of theatre. Lavender seeks out those questions, and in so doing, offers a perceptive look at the place of theater today and the direction in which it is headed.

Dimensions 5.79 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.96 (d)
Subjects Shakespeare - Plays
& Criticism
Theater - History & Criticism - General & Miscellaneous
English Drama - 16th-17th Century - Elizabethan & Jacobean Eras - Shakespeare - Literary Criticism


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