Turning again to the Mahabharata

Legendary director Peter Brook.
PHOTO: Simon Annand

THIRTY years after he first turned to the Mahabharata for a nine-hour production, legendary director Peter Brook goes back to the Indian epic for his new play.

The 90-year-old Brit, who has directed over 70 productions in London, Paris and New York, will present Battlefield, which is co-commissioned by the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT).

It premiered in Paris and will be staged at Capitol Theatre from Nov 17 to 21 before going on a world tour. It is expected to tour India in March next year.

Featuring four actors over 90 minutes, the play will explore the last chapter of the famous poem which describes a war that tears apart a family - the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas.

In the production notes, Brook says: "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."

Being one of the commissioning partners for the play is a major coup for both SRT and for Singapore, says SRT. The theatre company adds that the fact the global tour is launching here ahead of major theatre capitals like London and New York speaks volumes about its contribution towards establishing Singapore as an important arts market.

Says SRT's artistic director Gaurav Kripalani: "When I was studying theatre at college, several of my textbooks were written by Peter Brook. His Mahabharata had such a profound effect on me. To be now co-commissioning and presenting Battlefield is a dream come true."

SRT says its vision is to produce and present theatre of the highest calibre by working with the best talent from around the world. To that end, it has presented work by acclaimed theatre companies such as the UK's Royal Shakespeare Company and the Baxter Theatre in South Africa.


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