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Thursday, January 17, 2013

In Context: Peter Brook's The Suit

Photo: Nonhlanhla Kheswa, by Johan



The Suit, Peter Brook's adaptation of South African writer Can Themba's biting short story, runs at the BAM Harvey Theater until Saturday, February 2. Context is everything, so get even closer to The Suit with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those who've already seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.


Around the Web


Video
“Peter Brook: ‘Simplicity is not a style’” (The Guardian)
“[Can Themba] needed that tremendous injustice [of Apartheid] to think up such a powerful and cruel story.”

Conversation
A Q&A between Leading Theater Makers and Peter Brook (The Guardian)
Brook answers questions about anxiety dreams, mortality, cheap tickets, and more.

Article
“Sophiatown” by Anthony Sampson (Pitzer.edu)
The longtime editor of Drum magazine—for which  The Suit was written—remembers Can Themba and the Apartheid-era Township.


On the Blog


Article
"Love—Apartheid Style" 
Alicia Dhyana House looks at the inception of The Suit. 

Article
Close-Up: "Malaika" and Peter Brook's The Suit 
A bittersweet Kenyan love song takes center stage in Brook's musical production.

Illustration
“The Suit: A Storybook Introduction” 
Nate Gelgud offers an illustrated intro to Peter Brook’s adaptation of The Suit.

Audio
“Harvey’s Oral History: Peter Brook’s Dream
“I remember going home and being up practically most of the night just absolutely stunned with that production,” remembers past BAM executive producer Harvey Lichtenstein.

Reading
Excerpt from Peter Brook’s The Empty Space
For the adventurous: Is “[the demand for theater] a hunger for the invisible, a hunger for a reality deeper than the fullest form of everyday life?”


Worthwhile Words


Peter Brook on The Suit:

"[My aim was] not to do a biting hard, tough human story that could leave you excited theatrically, but feeling even worse about the state of the world it's in. [Instead,] something in the whole evening must make you go out, amazingly, feeling a little more hopeful or confident."

"This most extraordinary situation between a man and woman could not have taken this strange and frightening form except when minds are so warped. Something becomes a pressure cooker in the mind."


Now Your Turn . . .


So what's your verdict? Once you've seen the show, tell us what you thought of Brook's sparse set, which songs are stuck in your head, or anything else that might be on your mind in the comments below.

7 comments:

  1. I want the soundtrack! What an inspired collection of songs Brook put together. And Schubert on accordion? Who knew...

    ReplyDelete
  2. good variety of stuff, thanks...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Four of us saw The Suit on January 25, 2013. We were seated row P , center in the orchestra.
    We all walked out quite disappointed. It was very difficult to hear the dialogues and when Ms Keshua sang in English we could not understand the words. We regretted that the words of Malaika were not in the playbill, translated in English.
    I remember Mr Brooks production of Midsummer Night's Dream at BAM and how beautiful it was and how much I had enjoyed it. What a differerence!

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    Replies
    1. Here is one translation of "Malaika" that we dug up on the web——by no means definitive:

      Malaika, nakupenda Malaika
      Angel, I love you angel
      Malaika, nakupenda Malaika
      Angel, I love you angel
      Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
      and I, what should I do, your young friend
      Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
      I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
      Ningekuoa Malaika
      I would marry you, angel
      Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
      I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
      Ningekuoa Malaika
      I would marry you, angel

      Kidege, hukuwaza kidege
      Little bird, I think of you little bird
      Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
      and I, what should I do, your young friend
      Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
      I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
      Ningekuoa Malaika
      I would marry you, angel
      Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
      I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
      Ningekuoa, Malaika
      I would marry you, angel

      Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
      The money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
      Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
      the money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
      Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio
      and I, what should I do, your young friend
      Ningekuoa Malaika
      I would marry you, angel
      Nashndwa na mali sina, we
      I am defeated by the bride price that I don't have
      Ningekuoa Malaika
      I would marry you, angel

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete