May 25, 2016 20:45
A Fondazione Teatro della Toscana show for Fabbrica Europa 2016
Thirty years after his legendary nine-hour version of the Mahabharata, Peter Brook, one of the leading figures of contemporary theatre, who has just turned 90 years old, has returned to this sacred poem of India.
The Mahabharata is not simply a book, nor a great series of books, it is an immense canvas covering all the aspects of human existence. In it we find all the questions of our lives, in a way that is at once contemporary and urgent. Over many thousands of years the Mahabharata shows us, in an always-unexpected way, how to open our eyes to what reality demands.
The Mahabharata speaks of a great war of extermination, which tears apart the Bharata family. On one side there are five brothers, the Pandavas, and on the other side their cousins, the Kauravas, the hundred sons of the blind King Dritarashtra. Both sides use terrible weapons of destruction. At the end the Pandavas win. Millions of dead bodies lie on the ground. And now the eldest of the Pandavas – Yudishtira – is compelled to become King. The victory has the bitter taste of defeat. Both Yudishtira and Dritarashtra, the old King, are in deep distress and remorse, questioning their past actions, trying to unravel their own responsibility for the disaster.
How, having to live with this terrible massacre, having lost their sons, their families, their allies, will the new King and the old one find an inner peace?
The richness of the language of this timeless epic, and its always astonishing stories, allow us to bring to the stage this situation, which, belonging to the past, reflects at the same time the harsh conflicts of today.
Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne