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Thursday, January 6, 2011


Peter Brook has retired from his position as artistic director of the Bouffes du Nord in Paris. It is an event that seems to have gone unremarked in the USA. Vanessa Thorpe reports on the master's exit here. His final production was The Magic Flute on New Year's Eve.

Brook's use of spare, minimal sets was daring and original in its day. Now, this mode is so common that one has to wonder if many of those adopting this approach to stage design are even aware of Brook's influence. Of course, these days it's often a budgetary choice. (Must save the money to pay those administrators.) For Peter Brook it was an artistic choice.

Over the years I've loved some of Brook's work and found some of it frustrating. However, I've never doubted his mastery, impact or commitment to theater (over financial considerations, especially). He is 86 now. Great good luck to him, whatever he chooses to do.

The US theater press should be ashamed of itself for ignoring the end of his Parisian tenure.

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