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The Empty Space (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Peter Brook
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Jan 2008 Penguin Modern Classics

Adapted from a series of four lectures, originally delivered as the first of the Granada Northern Lectures Peter Brook's The Empty Space is an exploration of four aspects of theatre, 'Deadly, Holy, Rough and Immediate', published in Penguin Modern Classics.

'I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage'

In The Empty Space, groundbreaking director Peter Brook draws on a life in love with the stage to explore the issues facing any theatrical performance. Here he describes important developments in theatre from the last century, as well as smaller scale events, from productions by Stanislavsky to the rise of Method Acting, from Brecht's revolutionary alienation technique to the free form Happenings of the 1960s, and from the different styles of such great Shakespearean actors as John Gielgud and Paul Scofield to a joyous impromptu performance in the burnt-out shell of the Hamburg Opera just after the war. Passionate, unconventional and fascinating, his book shows how theatre defies rules, builds and shatters illusions and creates lasting memories for its audiences.

Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH CBE (b. 1925) is a highly influential British theatrical producer and director. During the 1950s he worked on many productions in Britain, Europe, and the USA, and in 1962 returned to Stratford-upon-Avon to join the newly established Royal Shakespeare Company. Throughout the next the 1960's he directed many ground breaking productions for the RSC before in 1970 forming The International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris.

If you enjoyed The Empty Space, you might like John Berger's Ways of Seeing, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'A brilliant book ... should be read by the many besides the passionate few to whom it will be required reading'

Daily Telegraph


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The Empty Space (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Theatre and Its Double + Towards a Poor Theatre (Eyre Methuen Drama Books) (Performance Books)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1st Edition Thus edition (31 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141189223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189222
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH CBE (born 21 March 1925) is a highly influential British theatrical producer and director.

During the 1950s he worked on many productions in Britain, Europe, and the USA, and in 1962 returned to Stratford-upon-Avon to join the newly established Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Throughout the next the 1960's he directed many ground breaking productions for the RSC before in 1970 forming The International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris.


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I CAN take any empty space and call it a bare stage. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Empty Space fills a space 18 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
The Empty Space is a fantastic read. I read it first before I even knew how influential Brook was in the theatre world, and so I was completely unbiased. It's so enjoyable because it's a book that question you about your own impressions of theatre and challenges you to see the theatre in a whole different light. It's essential reading not just for those on a Drama course, but for those who have any interest in theatre full stop!
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Peter Brook is one of the most influential theatre directors and practioners in modern drama. In 'The Empty Space' Brook gently guides the reader through his concept of performance, and all the elements that surround it. He explores the philosophy of what constituates a performance, and draws your attention to the potential of an empty stage. I promise you that it will ignite your imagination and make you either what to become an actor, or go see a show.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable overview of theatre. 15 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Easy to get into. Makes some thought provoking comments. Gives clear vision of how Peter Brook views theatre in general, and how theatre is used by practitioners and viewed by the public, and what it means to have 'vital' and 'living' theatre. Good pointers for new directors, but not in any specific sense.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Empty Space (Penguin Modern Classics) 2 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peter Brook really knows his stuff, he breaks down all the aspects of theatre into understandable chunks. Wanna know why some shows are bad? Give this a read!
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for anyone interested in drama 21 Dec 2001
Format:Paperback
this is a great book for understanding different ways of looking at drama techniques. It makes us understand why brook is as popular as he is. It also inspires good ideas of your own to try. Quite easy to understand, only a few parts which are a little difficult.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 9 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a seminal book in terms of the philosophy and practice of drama performance. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in reading what one of the top creative minds has to say about his profession. As well as being influential when it came out, this text remains vital today. I particularly like the comments about Brook's 1955 Titus, a production that reinstated the play after 300 years of neglect.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful 7 Jan 2011
By Mariab
Format:Paperback
This book is handy to have when studying space and critical theory or performance analysis. I would recommend this to anyone interested in stage management and performance.
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