Peter Brook/NY: The Mahabharata
Where: The Center for Fiction
15 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY
212-755-6710 Price: $10 admission; $10 off at bookstore
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This fall, we are thrilled to join several NYC cultural institutions in a citywide recognition of Peter Brook’s work and his collaborations with Marie-Hélène Estienne for Peter Brook/NY.
At a special event introduced by the program’s executive producer Karen Brooks Hopkins, clips from The Mahabharata, the 1989 film version of the Hindu epic directed by Peter Brook, will illuminate a discussion with the director about his original 1985 stage play of the same name. Brook and Estienne will be joined by actress Erika Alexander, who played Hidimbi in the TV mini-series. The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Kalb, professor of Theater at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, and the company Dramaturg of Theater for a New Audience.
Peter Brook was born in London in 1925. Throughout his career, he distinguished himself in various genres—theatre, opera, cinema, and writing. He directed his first play there in 1943. He then went on to direct over seventy productions in London, Paris, and New York. In 1971, he founded the International Centre for TheatreResearch in Paris with Micheline Rozan, and in 1974, opened its permanent base in the Bouffes du Nord theater. Most recently, he has directed The Suit (2012), The Valley of Astonishment (2014), Battlefield (2015), and The Prisoner (2018).
Marie-Hélène Estienne joined the CICT in 1976 – and since then has never left. From press secretary to Peter Brook’s assistant, she has worked on many shows including casting the pieces. In time, she became Peter Brook’s collaborator, adapting texts, writing alone or with him and finally participating in the staging of the shows. Their recent work includes The Suit, The Valley of Astonishment, and The Prisoner.
Beloved for the iconic role Maxine Shaw (Living Single), Linda Diggs (Wutang: An American Saga), Detective Latoya (Get Out), and Perenna Black (Lightning), Erika Alexander wears many hats, including entrepreneur, creator, producer and trailblazing activist—an all-around boss. As Co-Founder of Color Farm Media, Editor-in-Chief of The Blackness and Board Member of VoteRunLead, Alexander is on a mission to bring greater equity, inclusion, and diverse representation to both media and electoral politics.
Jonathan Kalb is Professor of Theater at Hunter College, CUNY and the Resident Dramaturg at Theater for a New Audience. The author of five books on theater, he has worked for more than three decades as a theater scholar, critic, journalist, and dramaturg. He curates and hosts the theater- review-panel series TheaterMatters at HERE Arts Center and has twice won the country’s most prestigious prize for a drama critic, The George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He has also won the George Freedley Award for an outstanding theater book from the Theatre Library Association. He was the founding editor of HotReview.org (The Hunter On- Line Theater Review), which published hundreds of reviews, essays and interviews by new and established theater writers from 2003-2016. He currently writes about theater on his TheaterMatters blog (at www.jonathankalb.com). His books include Beckett in Performance, The Theater of Heiner Müller and Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater, which contains a chapter on Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata. Kalb conducted an in-depth interview with Brook about The Mahabharata in 2010 (published in PAJ). Kalb has been a theater critic for the Village Voice, New York Press, and the New York Times, and his writing has appeared in many other publications including the New Yorker, The Nation, Salon.com, Salmagundi, The Threepenny Review, Modern Drama and Theater Heute.