Legendary director Peter Brook will bring his new production of Hamlet to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in May 2001. The production will come straight from its debut in Paris in November 2000. Hamlet will mark Brook's first theatre offering in the U.S. since The Man That... at the Brooklyn Academy of Music several seasons back.
Brook, born in London but long based in Paris, is one of the half-dozen most influential directors of the past 30 years, both through his ambitious, yet spare, productions, and his several volumes of theory, including the seminal quartet of essays, "The Empty Space." His career is littered with landmark productions, some of the most famous being Marat/Sade, the marathon The Mahabharata, The Tragedie of Carmen and his takes on A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Cherry Orchard.
Brook began his career just after World War II. He began a long association with what became the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1946 with Love's Labour's Lost. He went on to direct plays by Christopher Fry, Paul Scofield in King Lear and Laurence Olivier in Titus Andronicus. By 1970, however, he moved to Paris and founded the International Centre of Theatre Research. There, he assembled a group of theatre artists, including everyone from actors to musicians to acrobats, and experimented with improvisation and efforts to bridge the gaps between different cultures.
The Time of London reported (June 20) that British actor Adrian Lester will be Brooks' Hamlet. Specific dates for the play have not been announced.
* The Chicago Shakespeare Theater season will also include The Two Gentleman of Verona, directed by Penny Metropulos (Sept. 8-Nov. 11); Sheridan's The School for Scandal (Nov. 21-Jan. 21, 2001); and King Lear, directed by Barbara Gaines (Feb. 9-April 22, 2001).
The School for Scandal will star acclaimed Canadian actor Brian Bedford, a familiar face to Broadway audiences from such productions as Two Shakespeare Actors, The Moliere Comedies and London Assurance, the latter two at the Roundabout Theatre Company. He won a Tony in 1971 for The School for Wives. The Sheridan will come from the Stratford Festival of Canada, where Bedford often acts. Richard Monette will direct.
CST is located on Navy Pier in Chicago. For tickets, call ( 312) 595 5600.
--By Robert Simonson