Peter Brook's Dream Critical Analysis

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In the twentieth century, theatrical representations of A Midsummer Nights Dream (The Dream) underwent a revolution. Leading the breakthrough was Peter Brook’s 1970 production, a challenge to traditional interpretations of Shakespeare’s work. Directors like Robert Lepage (1992) and Tim Supple (2006) followed Peter Brook’s success and explored their own interpretations of The Dream with famous and influential productions. Each of these directors accentuated the contrasts between the play’s intertwined stories while drawing out certain themes of the play: order versus disorder, the fragility and power of love in its sexual expression, and the line between dream and reality. This essay will analyse the work of these three directors in their …show more content…
His approach was to set the play in a dark dream. While Lepage and Brook interpreted the text of The Dream from an internal perspective, Tim Supple went one step forward and decided to bring his Dream to life by exploring it from an external perspective, specifically by setting it in India. Tim Supple’s aim was to revisit Shakespeare’s Dream not only from the western perspective of realism and psychological truth; but also from the ritualistic, spontaneous and traditional perspective provided by the Indian theatrical culture (Muñoz Valdivieso, 104) (interview). Although all three directors decided upon a different concept, they each believed the actors had a fundamental role in helping them break with tradition. Peter Brook believed the actors had to both avoid the traditional acting style while rediscovering themselves and their characters starting from a tabula rasa in order to be able to connect with the text (Williams, 223). Each actor, as storyteller, therefore, had to go through a contemporary transaction of the text to discover the “hidden play” within (Williams, 223). “It’s from the hidden inner life of the performer that the magic, the unfolding possibilities of the play, must emerge. This area is …show more content…
Since Supple’s performance was tailored for India, Sri Lanka and the UK, he decided to include in his production, not only his performers’ theatrical background, but also their 7 native Indian languages (Muñoz Valdivieso, 101).
Characterization:
Because of the resulting language barrier, the characterization of his characters was very physical so as to make the story understandable to all audiences. For this reason, the box office at the Roundhouse described the production not as a play, but as a “music and dance show’’ (Hampton-Reeves). Although the production’s multiple languages reduce the audience’s understanding of the text, critics reported that this loss was made up by the energy of the production, which made the performance understandable beyond verbal communication (Muñoz Valdivieso, 102). Reviews also described Lepage’s characterization as energetic and physical (Halio, 127). However, in Lepage’s case, critics highly critiqued this aspect of the production, as they felt the text was lost, as actions yielded lines and not vice versa (Halio, 125, 127). This was one of the main differences with Brook’s production, in which the text was the driving force of the

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