Beckett by Brook

By Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne

  • English with Spanish subtitles
  • 61 minutes
  • Todo público

A piece that reveals the comical and vivacious side of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.

With hindsight, we can see exactly how wrong the labels given to Samuel Beckett have been, since it has been said that his writing was sad, negative and desperate. Nowadays, it can be said that several of his pieces submerge us in the reality of human existence, but with an element of humor - and it is this humor that has saved us. Beckett rejects every theory, every core belief, looking for the truth. He observes people amid the darkness and takes them into what is vast and unknown about life, so they can discover their truth by taking a look at themselves and others. Like Beckett, we share their uncertainty, their search, their pain.

This theatrical reflection by the masters of European theater, Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, incorporates parts of Fragments, a piece premiered in 2008 and filmed in 2015 and which contains the short plays Rough For Theater I, Rockaby, Act Without Words II and Neither.

Texts by: Samuel Beckett | Staging: Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne | Lighting: Philippe Vialatte | With: Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne, Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni | Produced by: C.I.C.T. - Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord | Executive producer: FLAB PROD | Coproduced by: The Young Vic Theater

©John Thaxter_Wikimedia Commons

Peter Brook


One of the most influential figures of the twentieth century

Born in London (1925), he is considered one of the most influential directors of twentieth century contemporary theater. During his career, he has worked in genres like theater, opera, film and essays. In the seventies, he moved to France and set up the International Center for Theatrical Creations. He also cofounded the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. He has won two Tony awards, two Laurence Olivier Theater awards and the Princess of Asturias art award.

©Tania Victoria_Secretaría de Cultura CDMX

Marie-Hélène Estienne


A leading light in European theater

This French playwright and scriptwriter joined the International Center for Theatrical Creations in 1977 and ended up working directly with Peter Brook in a collaboration that would mark both their careers, as they came to be known as an inspirational duo in European theater. Author of Tierno Bokar and Eleven and Twelve, she has adapted and directed plays by different renowned figures from the world of theater, such as William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Samuel Beckett, and is particularly remembered for adapting the Hindu myth The Mahabharata for theater.

-This piece by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne had a huge impact on how Samuel Beckett’s work was regarded. This documentary is based on the production Fragments, premiered in 2008, which groups together short plays by the Irish playwright. The duo highlight the importance of a set of dramatic pieces baptized Embers, which reflect Beckett’s brilliant comedic streak. Up to then, he had mainly been described as a nihilistic writer, so this creation marked a before and after in how his work was seen.

-This documentary was filmed specifically to bring Beckett’s work to the masses. In fact, Brook and Estienne conceived it as a way of taking theater beyond a specific venue.

Theater of the absurd: This playwriting trend emerged between 1940 and 1960, after the Second World War, and reflects the cynicism of those who have lost their way in the world and have a pessimistic and bitter view of life. It mainly deals with death, solitude, a lack of communication and desperation, and its dialogues are sometimes nonsensical and incomprehensible. Its leading lights were playwrights such as Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett.

Take a look here at scenes from the plays that are part of Fragments, the theater piece that inspired the documentary Beckett by Brook.


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