Peter Brook directs his own adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. King Lear, having decided to split his kingdom between his three daughters, decides to apportion the lands according to which daughter declaims her love for him best. When his daughter Cordelia refuses to flatter her father’s ego with claims of devotion, Lear angrily gives the lion’s share of his power to her sisters, Goneril and Regan. They soon abuse this trust, and Lear finds himself emasculated and powerless. Before long he is drifting into madness, as his former empire falls apart.
CAST & CREW
Michael Birkett, Mogens Skot-Hansen
Director of Photography
Paul Scofield, Cyril Cusack, Susan Engel, Tom Fleming, Anne-Lise Gabold, Ian Hogg, Søren Elung Jensen, Robert Langdon Lloyd, Jack MacGowran
Athéna Films, Filmways Pictures, Filmways, Laterna Film, Royal Shakespeare Company
Theatre and film director. He studied at Oxford, and his involvement in the theatre began while at university. He directed many classical plays at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, went to Stratford in 1947, and was also director of productions at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1947–50). Famous for his innovatory approach, during the 1950s he worked on many productions in Britain, Europe, and the USA, and in 1962 returned to Stratford to join the newly established Royal Shakespeare Company for which he directed, among other productions, King Lear (1962) and Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade (1964), epitomizing Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, in which movement, sound, and rhythm rather than words express the underlying ferocity and ruthlessness of human life. Most of his work in the 1970s was done with the Paris-based Centre for Theatre Research, which he founded and with which he travelled widely in Africa and Asia. Later Paris productions include an adaptation of The Mahabharata (televised in 1989) and The Tempest (1990). Among his films are The Beggar's Opera (1952), Lord of the Flies (1962), and King Lear (1969). His publications include The Shifting Point (1988, autobiography), Threads of Time (1998, a memoir), and Evoking Shakespeare (1999). He has many awards and honours.
The Beggar's Opera (1953), Both Ends Meet (1954, TV), Moderato Cantabile (1960), Lord of the Flies (1963), Marat/Sade (1967), Ride of the Valkyrie (1967, short), Tell Me Lies (1968, doc.), King Lear (1971), Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979), Mesure pour mesure (1979, TV), La cerisaie (1982, TV), La tragedie de Carmen (1983), Mahabharata (1989, TV mini-series), The Tragedy of Hamlet (2002,TV).