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© Simon Annand


Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne

At the apogee of his impressive career, the illustrious director Peter Brook, along with his colleague Marie-Hélène Estienne, divests the theatre of artifice to ask an essential question: Why?


At the apogee of his impressive career, the illustrious man of the theatre Peter Brook continues to delve deeply into stagecraft. With his colleague Marie-Hélène Estienne, he questions the very foundations of the art form to which he has devoted his life. Like Prospero relinquishing his magic, he divests in uncompromising fashion all artifice to focus on the essential: Why theatre at all?

On an almost completely bare stage three exceptional actors dismantle the mechanics of theatre, revealing with incredible simplicity how their art is constructed. They then summon the heroic figure of the Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold. A fervent early 20th century revolutionary deeply committed to the cause, he changed the concept of stage presence with a new form of theatre that was playful, radical and even dangerous, until Stalin, in the name of the revolution, had him executed. Why believe in the truth of theatre if it means your own death? Why?


Written and directed by Peter Brook + Marie-Hélène Estienne
Performed by Hayley Carmichael + Kathryn Hunter + Marcello Magni
Music Laurie Blundell
Lighting Design Philippe Vialatte
Images Gabrielle Lubtchansky
Costume Assistant Alice François

Coproduced by Theatre for a New Audience (New York) + Grotowski Institute (Wroclaw) + National Performing Arts Center – National Taichung Theater (Taiwan) + Centro Dramatico Nacional (Madrid) + Teatro Dimitri (Verscio) + Théâtre Firmin Gémier / La Piscine (Châtenay-Malabry)

Thanks to Oria Puppo

Presented with the support of Institut Français (Paris) + Service de coopération et d’action culturelle du Consulat général de France à Québec in association with Carrefour international de théâtre (Quebec City) + Monument-National

Written by Paul Lefebvre
Traduction Neil Kroetsch

Premiered at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, on June 19, 2019


© Marian Adreani

Peter Brook (Paris)
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord

Born in London in 1925, Peter Brook is among those who revamped contemporary theatre by directing it towards its essential core, revealing the underlying depths of the texts and employing his exceptional mastery of the art of narration.

Full biography
© Pascal Victor

Marie-Hélène Estienne (Paris)
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord

Born France in 1944, Marie-Hélène Estienne reported on culture for Le Nouvel Observateur when in 1974 Peter Brook asked her to work with him on Timon d’Athènes.

Full biography