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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 33 | volume VI | July-August, 2003



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 33July-August, 2003
Theatre Theory

Does Nothing Come from Nothing?

p. 1
Peter Brook

    Good evening. Now, you must help me, because it is impossible to talk without knowing who one's talking to. I've been very kindly introduced, but I don't know you. So can you tell me who is a psychoanalyst here? Ah, you're in a minority. Who amongst you feels covered by the enormous blanket words psychologists, psychotherapist, and psychiatrist? Oh, hands are moving up! Good! Now, who has nothing to do with any of these? Ah, a majority!
    Once, some years ago, we did a performance of a play called Kaspar — which you may know; it's about Kaspar Hauser — in a French psychiatric hospital in Paris. We did two performances. One in a room about this size, full of patients and it was quite an extraordinary experience because of the intensity of the listening. In fact, it compelled the actors to have a quite unusual degree of sensitivity. They felt that the least image that they projected could easily go too far and be dangerous to the patients. After that experience we went upstairs to another hall, where we did a second performance which was entirely for the psychiatrists of the hospital there were four hundred. This was a very interesting experience because we could actually feel and hear the movement of four hundred brains, debating with themselves whether they agreed or disagreed with what they were seeing. And this produced a hum that was quite audible. So just listen for a moment and see, because I think I can detect something similar tonight…
    When I received this invitation, which I felt was a very serious one, to take part in this very impressive series I consulted my brother, Alexis, who is an old standing member of the Psycho-Analytical Society, about what I should do.
    He said, “What are you going to talk about?” So I said, “Obviously, about the brain and the mind.”
    He raised his hands in horror and said, “But my God, that's what they listen to all day long. They want you to talk about theatre.”
    I said, “But I hear myself talking about theatre all day long. I can't see why I should go into another context and go on talking about theatre.”
    In the end I realized that in fact the interest of the subject and that is why I chose the most non-committal title I could find Does Nothing Come from Nothing? - was that it doesn't matter

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