Empty Space by Peter Brook & Visits to a Small Planet by Elanor Fuchs - Response

#Elanor Fuchs

I read Elanor Fuchs' visit to a small planet first since Empty Space was a long read. I knew there was a massive void of Arts education in my schooling and college but this reading made me realize how big this void was. Something like Geography and Astronomy that are so scientific are used so profoundly to understand a play. I am not very sure if I fully understood and appreciate this writing, cause I read it twice and each time deduced more meaning out of it. The piece ends with "Of course you can construct meaning in this world in many different ways" - maybe that should be my takeaway. 

Midway through reading her I : The world of the play - first things first, I saw myself visualizing the title sequence of Game of Thrones - how they walk through all the kingdoms, set up the map and familiarize the viewer with the world. It is probably not a good sign that for every part Elanor mentioned my mind visualized something from the cinematic arts rather than the theatrical arts - but that maybe because of how little of theatre I have consumed. Her questioning strategy is oddly familiar to my project development technique. It's interesting that the progression it takes is 1. Set the inanimate things 2. Set the animate things 3. Set the interactions/changes 4. Add some "you" 5. Reason back and forth 6. Match the patterns - so once you have laid down the first three points only then do you add your takes and interpretations into it. The Theatre is not meant to be one man's play since it is one of the oldest forms of interactive arts and anything interactive needs more than one agent. 

#Peter Brook

Jumping to Peter Brook's Empty Space, this reading was a roller coaster ride - it went from directors, actors, sculptors, designers, painters, critics and audiences. It went from Broadway to Tel Aviv and Russia and it went from one era to another. As I read what he was describing in the deadly theatre, I saw myself exploring where in history was theatre in India deadly, rough, holy or immediate. Since this summer I have been meaning to explore if theatre has the potential or already is a self sustaining industry in post independence India for thesis. Midway this reading Peter speaks about the role of critics and he rightly says "theatre has no room for error or for waste". Incompetence would show immediately in theatre and there is an abundance of that in the society I aim to explore. You can hand in a lousily written chunk of code, you can do a mediocre job at diagnosing patients and get away with it but theatre would point that out. Walking through history and how poets, playwrights and society developed and redirected themselves a certain way - some got commercial and lost essence makes me wonder what direction turns theatre into monopoly. 

Evaluating Broadway theatre sales from 1960s to 2000s for a case study last semester for Entertainment and Media Markets was a helpful in understanding further to what Peter Brook talks about in audiences choosing the spend their money on theatre and it is a risk. Media, critics and societal pressures play a huge role in what drives theatre in different cultures. As an English director, Peter seems to have had the opportunity to derive a world view of theatre - makes me wonder more about American and European history with theatre hugely influenced eastern culture and perception of theatre as well and what is the global reception of theatrical acts from different regions since Peter strongly suggests language is a part of theatre and not the sole aspect. Would a Bharat Natyam piece be as well received in a foreign land or would Opera or a Broadway musical be well received in the interiors of China and India. What seems to end on a hopeful note is his conclusion - "But unlike a book, the theatre has one special characteristic. It is always possible to start again." Maybe it is a good idea to look into Theatre and it's future in India for thesis.