In 1970, the possibilities of Shakespeare in performance were changed forever by a radical staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the RSC. The set consisted of a brilliantly-lit white box and the actors performed circus skills and trapeze-swinging, inspired by Chinese acrobats. The British Library in their programming of 400 years of Shakespeare, invite legendary theatre director and practitioner Peter Brook, to discuss his visionary direction of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In this evening of reflection, associates and cast members of the original production including Ben Kingsley, Frances De La Tour and Barry Stanton, offer an in-depth analysis and thought provoking discussion led by Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland.
In collaboration with LIFT Festival 2016, this event is an experience to behold, sharing a room with numerous legends and artists. In this event, The British Library alongside their exhibition of 400 years of Shakespeare (Shakespeare In Ten Acts) unveil their intentions to celebrate a visionary production that continues to inspire, motivate and influence. The evening begins with an introductory speech followed by interviews and discussions that provide an informative, intellectual and enlightening insight into the rehearsal process, production developments and tour of the world.
This event is inspiring, with sublime description and never ending quotes of perfection, Peter Brook and associates comment on an event in history, that somewhat changed and revolutionised the age of theatre. It is apparent the passion, dedication and commitment all associates share to this single production, presenting a connection to both the director, Brook, and content transcending over time. This event, offers a space to analytically engage with concepts surrounding the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, unveiling Brook’s intentions, devices and processes to create such a groundbreaking product. I leave the event ever inspired by the work of Peter Brook, clutching my copy of ‘The Empty Space’, feeling a sense of overwhelming happiness to have put a face to such visionary work and practice. 4.5/5
Review written by Meg Mattravers.
Peter Brook and associates: A Midsummer Night’s Dream took place at The British Library on Wednesday 15th June as part of this year’s LIFT Festival.