Peter Brooks Essay

With his deceptively simple yet magical approach to theatre, Peter Brook has been renowned as a highly celebrated practitioner and director for close to seventy years. His creations of such highly acclaimed, innovative productions have all been succeeded through his leading-edge views on theatre. These include the deadly, holy, rough and the immediate theatre, which he explains thoroughly in his book, The Empty Space. These views of theatre cannot be created without the elements of drama, as Brook believes that the use of space and audience interaction, along with the other elements of drama, is what creates a strong relationship between the actor and the audience and he discusses its importance in various interviews and in The Empty Space.

Forty-three years after the release of Peter Brook’s book, The Empty Space, it still holds its title as one of the most seminal texts for modern theatre-makers and for lovers of the art form, and explores four different meanings of theatre; deadly, holy, rough and immediate.

In the The Empty Space, Brook states that, “The deadly theatre can at first be taken for granted, because it means the bad theatre”. Deadly theatre is theatre that is generally bad. It is the theatre of imitation, and lacks deeper meaning of texts due to copying box office successes of the past. Deadly theatre loses its liveliness due to a variety of causes, such as lack of creativity, which results in repetition without reinvention and ineffective performance techniques. It is the theatre of commerce and the producer’s main goal during the creation of deadly theatre is to not find ways in which to connect with the audience in innovative ways, but instead, to earn money. It does not use the elements of drama such as space, sound, character and dramatic tension as effectively as it should, which results in a dull, emotionless performance.

The opposite of deadly theatre can be found through exploring inner depth and taking risks, which creates the...