Mahabharata by Peter Brooke

Peter Brooke directed a nine hour long play on the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. It is a great depiction of performance art. The opening shot starts off with a young boy moving through space with “diyas”, creating a mystical atmosphere. Once the space has been explored the play eventually drifts into the narrative of The Mahabharata, being recited to the young boy by a person of the elderly. Throughout the play, there is a constant movement of going back and forth in time periods, from when the story is being narrated until the actual occurrence of events. Peter Brooke’s effectiveness as a theatrical director was evident in the manner in which the dialogues were delivered.  The delivery involved pauses that exhumed a natural progression of the scene encapsulating the reaction of the audience. One of the flaws of the movie in my perspective was the casting for the play. The role of the Indians in the play was sourced out to Caucasians and dark skinned individuals that were of a greater concentration that Indian or Indian-origin actors. These casting decisions made by the casting director took away from the visual authenticity of the representation of the Mahabharata. Though the play was about nine hours long and the production aspect of the play was a great depiction of performance art, yet as the whole the ninety minutes that we saw in class, in my opinion did not do justice to the cultural representation of the epic tale of Mahabharata.

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