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Open Access Opposing Forces: Distance and Proximity in Peter Brook's Mahabharata

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This article looks at how Peter Brook provided a vitalized theatre experience in his production of the Mahabharata. He considers in particular how the director juggled with contradictory impulses, aiming to underline both universal traits and cultural specificity. To explore the articulation of such opposing forces, he utilizes the trope of the storyteller who plays out a relation of distance from and proximity to his or her material. This conceit is specifically used to comment on the rift that was opened up between actor and character in the production. Moreover, the article argues that Brook appropriated aspects of Bertolt Brecht's dramatic theory and highlights how distancing devices, such as the presence of a narrator figure, are prevalent in the production's text. However, it is suggested that Peter Brook exploits these devices not in order to provide a politicized form of theatre, but rather a reconfigured form of secular ceremony for audiences more than ever tempted to stay at home.

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Keywords: BERTOLT BRECHT; DISTANCING; MYTH; PETER BROOK; RITUAL; STORYTELLING; THEATRE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2014

More about this publication?
  • The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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