In search of the culture of links : the use of myth and ritual in the work of Peter Brook


This thesis examines the use of elements of myth and ritual in the work of Peter Brook, focusing primarily on The Mahabharata ( 1986 ). The argument proposes that Brook uses myth and ritual as an integral part of his search for the culture of links .. This thesis examines the precise functioning of myth and ritual in Brook's theatre, and places his work in relation to the concepts of interculturalism and postmodernism. In so doing, The Mahabharata is seen as a valid and important step in Brook's search for the culture of links. Chapter One formulates broad-based concepts of myth and ritual, and examines their function in society and culture, as well as their role in theatre. Chapter Two offers a brief discussion of the use of elements of myth and ritual in Brook's productions, beginning with King Lear (1962), and ending with 0rghast (1971). The discussion illustrates the multiple functions which myth and ritual serve in Brook's work. Chapter Three examines the trend of interculturalism, placing Brook's work within this franlework. Attention is given to the moral and political issues implicit in interculturalism. The chapter highlights the need for intercultural theatre to be evaluated in terms of artistic criteria, rather than on anthropological or political grounds. Finally, there is a discussion of the work of other intercultural theatre practitioners. Chapter Four examines Brook's Mahabharata. A detailed discussion of the authenticity and visual presentation of Brook's interpretation shows how Brook mediates between the Indian epic and a Western audience An examination of the critical response offers insights into the dangers of insensitive cross-cultural contact.. Chapter Five offers a critical summary of the argument. Brook's search for the culture of links has led him to use elements of myths and rituals of non-Western cultures. In so doing, Brook seeks to bring their living quality to his work, and to forge links between the peoples and cultures of the world

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